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Old News: An Edna Ferber Mystery    by Ed Ifkovic order for
Old News
by Ed Ifkovic
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A reader can't go wrong with another Edna Ferber mystery from Ed Ifkovic. Edna and her mother Julia are visiting Julia's childhood friend, Esther, in what turns out to be a sweltering June in 1923 Chicago. Esther's family home happens to be on the edge of the Maxwell Street Jewish marketplace.

In the very house next to Esther's, a murder, wrapped in scandal, occurred fifteen years prior. Leah, the wife accused of murdering her husband, spent those fifteen years in a mental institution. She has been released and is now in residence in her own home once again. Edna begins to suspect that the woman may not have committed this murder. Anyone else even remotely involved believed the police when they arrested Leah. And they are not happy that this provocative, flirty, beautiful, dangerous woman is back in their midst.

Edna starts asking questions, annoying everyone with her persistence. Sure that Leah did not murder her husband; she disregards warnings to stay out of business not hers. Ignoring the advice everyone is so free with she continues with her own investigation, even talking to the policeman who arrested Leah. Author of very popular short stories, she uses her well-known name to gain access to anyone who might have a slant on what might have really happened. Ostensibly gathering research for her first novel So Big, she simply can't leave Chicago believing Leah innocent and not doing something about taking a murderer's tag from Leah's shoulders.

The idea of using a real person as the protagonist does not grow old with repetition. Edna was a very popular author in her day, her work even hitting the big screen. Old News is the eightth in this delightful series. The author's ability to place his readers in the plot is admirable. His descriptions of various scenes bring the action alive. I can almost smell the cooking coming from Esther's kitchen and feel the sound of leaves as they crunch beneath shoes. The anguish of the characters is palpable and makes it very hard to not peek at the ending before really reaching it. Don't do that. Be surprised. I had it all wrong. But I enjoyed the book very much.

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