Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan delivers a sold novel with her sophomore mystery novel Cutting Corners which brings back the C’s (Caitlin and Carmen) from her freshman effort Sands Motel to engage in some amateur action / adventure and sleuthing once again. The action this time takes place in Montreal, Quebec after starting briefly at the commencements ceremonies at Harvard University.
Dying may be easy but finding out how someone got that way isn’t generally that easy. Kindellan-Sheehan takes the tried and true cozy approach of telling us who the criminal is at the start of the mystery and then unfolding the discovery process. It is a little like reading a Columbo script with better and more in depth exploration of both sides of the story. Cutting Corners takes the same approach as her previous novel with an omniscient voice getting into the heads, motivations and movements of every character. This allows for a generally sympathetic portrayal of the “bad guy” which brings to mind the talented Mr. Ripley who once said “No matter what you do, no matter how awful, no-one ever thinks that they’re a bad person.” This is also true of the characters in Cutting Corners.
Dealing with something as sensitive as a death in the family and the fallout that results as an intrinsic part of the plot of the novel instead of background takes a lot of guts. Kindellan-Sheehan is magnificently successful incorporating funeral arrangements, pretrial legal maneuvers, deals with ones conscious all into a story that keeps you turning the pages. Cutting Corners is a tight, well written story that has joined Sands Motel in my permanent collection – give it a try.