Deadly Politics (A Molly Malone Mystery) by Maggie Sefton

Deadly Politics Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Maggie Sefton is well known for her long running knitting shop mysteries set in Colorado. With Deadly Politics, Sefton introduces readers to Molly Malone in the start of a new series set in Washington D.C. I have some small quibbles with the book, but overall, it’s an interesting beginning and I am looking forward to the second installment.

Molly’s personal life in Colorado is a mess. Also her mother’s health is deteriorating and she’ll need an expensive companion in order to remain in her own apartment-money that Molly’s finances just can’t cover. So when an old friend suggests there may be a job for Molly in Washington D.C., she thought to herself, “why not?” The promised job is gone before she arrives, the victim of the economic down turn. However, nearly miraculously, another job, this one in the office of the Junior Senator from Colorado, opens up and Molly is hired on the spot. It is a job she is fairly well suited for being both the daughter of a Senator and the widow of a Congressman, but it is a job that brings her back into a world she wanted to leave behind forever. It is through this job that readers are able to glean the very basics on Molly’s life prior to this book.

Given that this is mystery, it is not surprising that before Molly has really had time to settle into her new job, there is a murder. Unfortunately for Molly, the victim is her niece Karen. She is found dead in her car after having a very public argument with her lover who also happened to be her boss. But Karen isn’t the only the person connected to her boss to turn up dead. Molly won’t sit back and wait for the D.C. police to find the killer. She enlists the aid of Danny, a former Marine and someone she knew in high school to help her investigate.

The plot is fairly straight forward with one surprising twist at the very end which I’m sure will drive some readers crazy, but sets up Molly for another book rather nicely. The book shifts point of view between Molly and an unidentified bad guy who is pulling the strings throughout the story. Mostly this worked well, but there were a few places where the shift occurred rather unexpectedly leaving me to wondering what was going on before it clicked that the point of view had shifted again.

The second thing I found a little lacking is that readers don’t really get to know the characters all that well. We see them in scenes and there are some hints to Molly’s past, but as a whole, the characters are very one dimensional, which makes them hard to care about. There is nearly no physical description of the characters except the physique of Danny and possibly Molly’s hair color, so getting a mental image is even hard. We know Molly runs and she likes her wine, but I didn’t really come away thinking I knew who this Molly Malone was. I’m assuming as the series rolls along, readers will get to know the people in the book better.

In contrast to the above, Sefton did a very good job with both the behind the scenes look at politics and with the setting. She really placed the reader on the streets of Washington and gave the reader a feel for what goes on in a Congressional office.

Deadly Politics was a nice beginning.

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