The Girl at the End of the Line
“Charles Mathes is one cozy mystery writer who manages to break all the rules. He doesn’t write about a series character, he doesn’t produce a book a year and his novels are set wherever his plots take them. Yet they all have a common theme: a young woman searching for her origins and in the end finding her destiny.
The Girl at the End of the Line (St. Martin’s, $22.95) is no exception, except that it offers two young sisters, Molly and Nell O’Hara, essentially orphaned when their mother was murdered since they had been abandoned by both a father and a stepfather before that. Molly runs an antiques store in a small North Carolina town, and Nell, who stopped speaking at age 8 when she witnessed her mother’s murder, helps her. Their lives are anything but exciting and they have few friends in the small town, but they manage to get by, if only just barely.
All that changes when their equally impoverished grandmother dies and quite unexpectedly leaves Molly a valuable emerald ring. By chance, the sisters also find that the taciturn old woman had been a Broadway actress in her youth, and that intrigues Molly even more than the bequest of the ring. On a whim she takes Nell with her to New York to learn more about their grandmother’s past, and this is just the first stop on a quest that eventually takes them to a dog show in England and an island estate in Vermont.
Along the way, they realize that their grandmother was murdered and that they are also targets. Even the danger they are in seems a small price to pay for the unexpected chance to experience the outside world, meet new people (some friendly, some not, but all quite colorful) and establish a whole new life for themselves.
Much of the fun of the book lies in seeing places, New York especially, through Molly’s unsophisticated but skeptical eyes. It’s all pure fairy tale (albeit with a very real mystery wrapped within it) and thoroughly enjoyable.”
—Tom and Enid Schantz, DENVER POST
A mystery made exciting by unraveled family secrets, far-flung relations, provocative prose, and constant motion; a definite keeper from the author of The Girl Who Remembered Snow — Library Journal
Charmingly light tone… endlessly inventive plot… a grown-up fairy tale. — Kirkus Reviews
Mathes knows what he is doing. This is a story far more intricate than it first appears–more intricate, and darker, too. Fans of Mathes’ previous two mysteries will no doubt clamor for this one. — David Pitt, Booklist