Friday, April 23, 2021

The Hiding Place: A Mercy Carr Mystery by Paula Munier

Title: The Hiding Place: A Mercy Carr Mystery
Author: Paula Munier
Publication: Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Suspense
Setting: Present-day Vermont
Description: After serving two tours in Afghanistan where her fiancĂ© was killed, Mercy Carr left the Military Police and is recovering with her bomb-sniffing dog Elvis in Vermont where she grew up. In this third mystery, she is confronted by the case that tragically ended her grandfather’s life when his old partner, now dying, reaches out to her and gives her a box of old files. Before Mercy can examine them, her home is invaded by a masked man who tries to snatch the box and she learns the man who shot her grandfather has escaped from prison and may be on his way back north. As if this isn’t enough trauma, a man turns up claiming to be Elvis’ original owner and wants him back, there’s a close encounter with a pipe bomb, and she is still furious with local Game Warden Troy Warner for not telling her he was still married. Mercy would rather be alone than trust other people but to solve this mystery she needs to put her pride aside and work with Troy before it is too late.

My Impression: I really liked the two earlier books in this series, A Borrowing of Bones and Blind Search, which made my Favorite Reads of 2019, and this third book arrived just in time to be my reward after finishing my last paper of the semester. Mercy is the kind of heroine who can intimidate mere mortals – she is strong and fearless, admired by nearly everyone, hardy enough to withstand freezing temperatures, able to walk many miles with her dog without seeming to tire. This book is really written for those who love the outdoors, which is not me, so I was grateful to be curled up under my electric blanket while reading. Mercy’s vulnerability is also appealing: despite her own suffering, she cares passionately about her grandmother and those she encounters and befriends in her area of rural Vermont; readers of the first two books will enjoy the recurring characters.
Munier with one of her dogs
As well, she has (presumably inherited from the deceased grandfather) a strong sense of justice and an intuitive ability to untangle complicated crimes – if the villains don’t dispose of her first. This is because she is foolhardy and gets herself into dangerous situations, either because she has not convinced herself she has something to live for or because she thinks she knows better than anyone else (this seems to be a common characteristic of the women in her family) and does not take proper precautions. Still, isn’t this true of many of the amateur detectives we enjoy?

Munier is also very skilled at drawing secondary characters: Mercy’s grandmother is a perfect peach, as Betsy Ray would say; and I also enjoy the law enforcement men who work with Troy, and Amy whom we encountered in A Borrowing of Bones. Although there was a lot going on, I thought this was even better than the last book and as good as Munier’s first. It includes many good Elvis scenes which should please his fans!
Last fall, the Maynard (MA) Library hosted a Mystery Night on Zoom with Archer Mayor, Paula Munier, Sarah Stewart Taylor, and Julia Spencer-Fleming, which was very enjoyable. I am already a Julia Spencer-Fleming aficionado and need to try the other two authors. This is my ninth book for the Cloak and Dagger Challenge hosted by Carol's Notebook.

Query: Why do Mercy’s dog Elvis and Troy’s dog Susie Bear eat so much people food? They are always eating cheeseburgers and pizza, which I find very odd. Maybe their owners should keep dog food in their trucks instead of dog treats in their pockets.

Also, I know bad guys can be stupid but if you are trying to locate the loot, it’s not logical to blow someone up who might know where it is!

Links: * Macmillan * Barnes & Noble * Amazon *Northshire Bookstore

Source: Library


Cath said...

Yet another author and series I'd never come across before. But, *Vermont*!!! I bought the first two for my Kindle and am so looking forward to trying them.

CLM said...

A relatively new author who seems to have been inspired by Julia Spencer-Fleming. The area where they are set is just across the Champlain River from where Judith lives in the Adirondacks so I have told her how much she would relate to the terrain and dogs. I think you will like them too!

Lark said...

I actually just checked this book out of my library! I really love this series. Mercy and Elvis are two of my favorite characters. So are Troy and Susie Bear. :D

Laura said...

Lovely review!