Killer in Control by Dorothy Francis

KILLER
Killer in Control by Dorothy Francis
A Key West Mystery
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (171 Pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Kitt Morgan’s hope of a singing career dies after a botched surgery. Moving forward‚ she earns a job on her Iowa town’s police force‚ trying for a law enforcement career like her father’s.

While on suspension for shooting an unarmed criminal‚ Kitt visits her sister at her Key West B&B. Here‚ she becomes embroiled in the murder investigation of Abra Barrie‚ a former B&B guest. While Kitt tries to find the murderer‚ the Iowa grand jury declares her shooting of the criminal an act of self-defense. She’s free to return to her police job. But does she want to? Big questions remain in Key West. Who is the killer? Is Kitt next on his list?

Kitt Morgan, a police sergeant in a small Iowa town, heads to her sister’s Key West B&B to await the decision by the grand jury about her shooting of a criminal in the act of committing a crime. She thinks that it will be better to await the outcome in a warmer, more relaxing location, but as soon as she arrives at The Poinsettia, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery. One of her sister’s guests has been found brutally murdered, and Kitt agrees to help figure out what happen, or at the very least, prove than none of the people at The Poinsettia were responsible.

Dorothy Francis has written a fun cozy mystery set in a wonderful location. Francis provides many details, historical and present day, about Key West, and she draws her readers into the spirit of the place with vivid descriptions. Kitt and her sister, Janell, do their best to check out all the alibis for The Poinsettia employees, only to discover that nobody has a really solid alibi. I enjoyed the interaction between Kitt and all the suspects, and I think Kitt’s suspension coupled with her own anxieties over having shot another person increased her nervousness and suspicions toward a number of the other characters. Kitt’s fears added suspense to the plot, creating more tension.

The story is well-paced and the clues are present, but far from obvious. The action has a number of interesting twists and turns. I did wish for more detecting on Kitt’s part. She does solve the murder, but more accidentally than by any true detection. The supporting characters are unique and they fit well with the atmosphere of The Poinsettia. I would have liked more details about their past, but I can understand that most people wouldn’t be doing background checks on their friends. Furthermore, Kitt isn’t sure she wants to continue as a policeman even if the grand jury rules that she shot in self-defense, so she just follows her sister’s leads on testing alibis.

The ending of the story is highly satisfactory, very suspenseful, right to the last moment, and the solution to the mystery is both surprising and believable. I think readers of cozy mysteries will enjoy this light, fun trip to Key West.

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