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The Lost Women of Lost Lake (Bywater Books) by Ellen Hart takes readers to the lovely lake country of northern Minnesota. Hart’s famous characters Jane Lawless and Cordelia Thorn have gone to a high end resort at Lost Lake to help out two old friends, Tessa and Jill. Tessa and Jill run the resort, and Tessa, a published playwright, directs the local community theatre group. Now, just days before opening night, Tessa has fallen and broken her ankle. This is obviously time for renowned theatre director Cordelia to come to Tessa’s rescue.
Jane and Cordelia quickly find that all is not peaceful in the small village of Lost Lake. Tessa is obviously very edgy, and Tessa and Jill’s relationship seems a bit strained. Added to that is a stranger who is flashing an old photo from the 60s, and is looking for the woman in the picture. The woman is suspected of being involved in the bombing of a police officer’s car during the 60s period of anti-war violence.
Hart has added a subplot with Jonah, Jill’s nephew, who has thumbed his way back to town so he can stay at the lodge and complete his senior year at the local high school. Jonah is madly in love with Emily, one of the stars in the play. He also has a best friend, Kenny, and together they share a shack type hideout in the forest and a fine crop of marijuana.
Hart has done a good job of weaving the 60s murder, which involves the older citizens of Lost Lake, with the tale of teenage angst with Jonah, Kenny. and Emily. I was particularly impressed by the quiet reasoned worry and regret of the older generation, set against the teenage emotions and anger.
When one of the local shop owners and a friend of Tessa’s is murdered, Jane uses all of the tools at her command, as well as her P.I. friend in the Twin Cities, to search out both clues and facts. What she finds is that more than one person in Lost Lake has something to hide. There is a question of arson, and another murder.
Hart does a wonderful job in describing her northern Minnesota setting. Her fans will smile at Cordelia’s well known and loved eccentricities as well as understanding Jane’s quandary about accepting an offer from her P.I friend, Nolan. Tessa and Jill are also well drawn, and their dilemma was so well written that I was moved to a few tears. The teenagers are three dimensional, particularly the very likable Jonah who is a good blend of strengths and weaknesses, The Lost Women of Lost Lake is another award winner, in my opinion, for award winning author Ellen Hart.
The Lost Women of Lost Lake
by Ellen Hart
Paperback, 9781612940519, 320 pp.