|Psychologist and advice columnist Rebecca Butterman (aka Dr. Aster) is very
good at handing out advice to other people; she is also very good at
separating her professional life from her personal life to avoid handing out
advice 24/7. One day after work, Rebecca returns home to learn her next
door neighbor has committed suicide.
Rebecca is new to her condo complex and didn’t know Madeline well, yet can’t help wondering if in their few short conversations she missed a cue as to Madeline’s intention. Madeline’s mother insists that the suicide note that was found was not written by her daughter and asks for Rebecca’s help. Rebecca reluctantly agrees, and
though she wonders how she missed gunshots through the wall, suspects Madeline’s mother’s insistence is denial and nothing will come of her investigation.
Finding Madeline’s blog quickly changes Rebecca’s mind. According to her blog, Madeline was full of life and dated often, frequenting speed dating evenings searching for adventurous men. Rebecca’s online editor asks Rebecca to do a feature on finding men later in life or after a divorce, giving Rebecca a perfect opportunity, one she does not relish, to make the same rounds Madeline did just before she died. Someone else may be following in Madeline’s final footsteps as well, trying to stop
Rebecca before she finds out who was with Madeline when she took her final
Rebecca Butterman, a supporting character from Isleib’s Cassie Burdette
golfing mysteries, shines on her own. She is recently divorced, and though
her ex-husband is expressing remorse for his misdeeds and attempting to get
back in her life, she reminds herself why they are divorced and stays firm.
Rebecca is working on fitting into her new environment and shedding the last
vestige of her former life, two Barcaloungers. Rebecca is very kind to
Madeline’s mother and is patient, though wary of her two brothers. Rebecca
keeps running into Detective Jack Meigs who grows increasingly frustrated
with what he considers Rebecca’s interference in the case, but who also
seems to be growing increasingly attracted to Rebecca. Through her
investigation of Madeline’s familial relationships, Rebecca also begins to
address her own family’s dysfunctions and begins to take steps to overcoming
the ghosts from her past.
The mystery is carefully plotted and there are plenty of suspects and
motives to keep readers guessing. Fans of the Cassie Burdette series will
be pleased to hear how well things are going for Cassie when she makes a
cameo. Roberta Isleib’s series is off to a strong start. An enjoyable
heroine and an interesting plot will keep readers engaged while they forget
about some of their own problems and see what advice Dr. Aster will dish up
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry