Family Vault


The Family Vault by Charlotte MacLeod is a reissue of the first in the Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn series, originally published in the 1980s. I often enjoy going back in time and reading good mysteries from great authors, and I was not disappointed in this trip back in time. There are plenty of anachronisms, and I was somewhat put off by the shrinking violet Sarah and her chauvinistic relatives, but she grew on me as the story progressed.

We first meet Sarah as she accompanies a relative to open a family vault in a cemetery in Boston where a batty old uncle has decided he wants to be buried. The vault hasn’t been opened in decades, so Sarah goes along to supervise. Imagine her surprise when the body, or rather the bones, of a well-known stripper is discovered sprawled inside the family vault. The grisly discovery sets in motion a series of events that result in several deaths, one shockingly close to Sarah herself.

MacLeod’s writing is always enjoyable – good plots, decent characters, and a hefty dose of tongue-in-cheek humor – and Family Vault did not disappoint. Take this one on vacation, or keep it for a rainy Sunday afternoon when you’re in the mood for some light reading.

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