What Sam Knew

Back home in West Malling, Patricia’s new detective agency is already busy: a woman is convinced her husband’s accident was a murder, and an artist’s beloved dog has been kidnapped, with a $10,000 demand for his return. She’s on the case with Jermaine always at her side, whether he’s snatching angry vergers in mid-air, spying on suspects, or serving as her personal John Steed.

Despite the police’s conclusions, Sarah Foy is convinced her husband Edward was murdered, because he was such a careful and safety-conscious rock climber. Her daughter Susie, on the other hand, is infuriated her mother won’t accept the verdict and profanely impedes Patricia at every opportunity: her favorite insult is “cadaverous cow,” preceded by a two-word expletive beginning with F.

Meanwhile, in East Malling, artist Emma Maynard is heartbroken over the kidnapping of her beloved Yorkshire terrier, Horace. She suspects her missing boyfriend, Damien, not only abducted Horace, but pilfered several hundred dollars of her festival cash.

Out on a morning walk with Anna, Patricia runs into Sam Chalk, the intellectually impaired son of a longtime friend. He’s quite interested in Anna, but when Patricia invites him to visit the pups, who have been named after the Beatles, he assures her he visits one every day, a point he often repeats to no avail.

As the investigations continue, Patricia, Jermaine, and Barbie discover unsettling facts about Ed’s death, most notably a small item hidden in his backpack. As the two cases converge, Patricia is not only convinced the police were right, as she finally heeds Sam’s frequent remark, but that the killer was someone Ed trusted, literally, with his life.

Steve Higgs has kicked off Patricia’s new journey with all the humor, surprises, and love readers have come to expect of his mysteries. What Sam Knew is an excellent beginning to her promising new series.

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