|After law school, Bree Winston-Beaufort inherited her great uncle’s Savannah law firm, which just happens to be a firm that represents cases that appeal to a higher court - the Celestial Courts, representing haunted souls who feel they got a raw deal in death.
Bree is beginning to get the hang of representing dead people, but knows she must also expand her business to include a few temporal clients in order to continue to support herself. At the estate auction of Russell O’Rourke’s effects, Bree touches the desk O’Rourke was sitting at when he allegedly shot himself. She gets a message from a spirit she assumes to be O’Rourke’s that he wants to go home.
At the same auction, O’Rourke’s widow Tully asks to put Bree on retainer to help with accusations from the auction house that she helped fix low prices on the furniture, and possibly from murder charges an overly zealous cop, Eddie Chin from New York where O’Rourke killed himself, is hoping to pin on her. Bree goes to the Celestial Court to file O’Rourke’s case only to learn O’Rourke hasn’t requested an appeal and seems content with his eternal purgatory sentence.
She is also startled when Chin arrives in Savannah claiming to have three pieces of evidence that will prove O’Rourke was murdered. Chin turns up dead in the foyer of Bree’s condo before he can confirm his suspicions.
Now Bree is more suspicious of Tully, but Bree’s time is also being taken up setting up a more worldly office in Uncle Franklin’s old building and helping her sister Antonia land a role in the Shakespeare Company that Tully has brought to Savannah, even though there’s something odd about the leading actor that Bree just can’t quite put her finger on.
Being a guardian to the angels is taking its toll on Bree, even though she has an angelic office staff and guard dogs to help her out. She knows murder is firmly planted in the physical world and tries to tie up all the loose ends before she finds herself standing on the other side of the bench in the Celestial Courts.
The Beaufort and Company mysteries are a clever series, mixing paranormal with a more traditional mystery. Bree is a strong young woman, very committed to helping others, and as Antonia points out, needs to take more time for herself before finding herself among the not-so-living. Bree has a good staff in each of her offices to look out for her and a good mentor in an old law school professor to help her understand the intricacies of her new specialties.
This mystery is very clever, and well-plotted and, as with Bree’s law practice, is not what it appears on the surface, letting readers guess until almost the end what is at stake for everyone. Bree’s more angelic colleagues are a unique lot and her self-centered little sister takes a bigger role this time out. She puts her concern for Bree’s well-being ahead of her longing to get a role with the new company, well almost. Quick paced with an unusual twist, Avenging Angels is a devilishly good read.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry