Downsizing the book collection has made me look at books I haven’t read or considered for years. This series by Linda Berry is one. Death and the Icebox (Five Star, 2004) is the third Trudy Roundtree cozy mystery. Set in the small town of Ogeechee, Georgia, where Trudy grew up and her family has lived for generations, everyone knows everyone else and their cousins too.
Trudy is taking a bit of a break from her job patrolling the town and showing police presence, part of Chief Henry Huckabee’s community policing campaign, and visiting her best friend Stacy as they watch excavations for a new house near Stacy’s mother-in-law’s home. An old refrigerator is unearthed and falls open when it hits the hard ground, displaying the body of a long-dead woman.
The ensuing cold case investigation reveals cracks in some of the facades presented by prominent names in the town and worries some of her friends, who fear their family members know more about the death than they are telling anyone.
I always liked this series, which combines standard components of cozy mysteries in a new way. The small Southern town setting automatically provides strong family and friend relationships and the investigator’s best helper, a long-time resident who knows everyone and most of their secrets. Putting the main character on the police force allows the incorporation of police procedural elements and does away with one of the hardest parts of an amateur detective series, explaining why the character is becoming involved in police business. The family tie between Trudy and the chief of police who is her boss as well as her cousin adds a great source of dialog and behavioral motivation. Anytime Trudy can’t get what she wants from him, she can go to his mother, her aunt. Typical in a small town, not at all permissible in a city. The inevitable love interest is the son of the local newspaper owner, not an attractive FBI agent or state police detective, another nice difference.
There are six titles in this series that ran from 1998 to 2009 and were released later in paperback. WorldCat indicates many libraries still hold copies.
· Hardcover: 248 pages
· Publisher: Five Star Publishing; 1st edition (April 2003)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0786252332
· ISBN-13: 9780786252336
Aubrey Hamilton ©2019
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.