Title: Dead Letter
Author: Chautona Havig
Series: Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries, book 4
Major Themes: Mysteries, Christian Fiction
Synopsis: Madeline’s skills as a detective have now led to her being hired by the Pinkertons to investigate a problem at a bank—can she juggle this job along with her personal life?
I have been enjoying the Meddlin’ Madeline books ever since the first one was published, three years ago. It’s fun to watch Madeline developing her skill as a detective, and at the same time to watch her grow in her walk with God. Then, there is her friendship with Russell…even though I know how that will turn out in the end (probably the end of the last book in the series!), it’s quite fun to follow the ups and downs of this relationship. Dead Letter is the first book in which Madeline is actually asked to help solve a mystery.
At the end of the third book, Madeline was hired to go to a different state and get work at a bank, so that she could figure out what was happening to the money there. Dead Letter begins with her assuming a disguise, so well done that even a very close friend did not recognize her, and going to find work in that town. She even had to change her personality to get this job—and did it quite successfully.
Once she managed to get herself a job, Madeline had to figure out who was making off with money undercover—and how. She frequently found herself in tight situations and had to think hard to get herself out. How could she justify her actions with her growing faith in God? And when friends and family misunderstood, what should she do? The story was definitely not resolved by the end of Dead Letter, although the mystery itself was. The deeper level of Madeline’s life, however, needs more books to bring true resolution—and I’m looking forward to them!
I received a free copy of this book through CelebrateLit. All opinions expressed are my own.
I realized recently that I hadn’t yet taken the time to read Dead Letter! Though I love this series, it just hadn’t happened—so I bumped it up in the order of my TBR list, and finally got to it a week ago. It gripped me almost right away, and I ended up finishing in probably the fastest time I’ve spent on a book all year! What a great mystery!
Madeline has been asked to work to discover who is stealing from a bank several hours from home. When she takes up the job, she doesn’t realize just how much of a cover story she’s going to have to create for herself—but that disappointment aside, she soon finds charming aspects in her new surroundings. Though it isn’t apparently obvious that anything is wrong at her new job, she does discover that other things need help around her—like the grocer who loves the local lady, but feels like it would be wrong to ever express his true feelings. Would it be right for her to try to bring the two of them together? And what about the money seemingly missing from the bank—who is taking it, and why?
As I said, I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Letter—though I also appreciated Madeline’s realization and decision near the end of the book. If you enjoy mysteries that aren’t all started at a crime scene where someone has died, this might be a good choice for you. I love the truths woven into the stories, as well as the gentle humor and the well-developed characters. This is a series worth reading!
WARNING: There is a little touching between unmarried people in ch. 1, 24, 28, and 36; and kissing in ch. 8, 24, 31, and 34. There is lying in ch. 2, 11, 12, 16, and 30, aside from the fact that Madeline was pretending to be someone she wasn’t through the entire story. There are mentions of people who died in ch. 14, 32 and 33 (a little description), and in the epilogue, we find out a man was to hang for something he’d done. Someone is shot in the arm in ch. 21. “Goodness” is used in ch. 24, 30, 31, 36, and the epilogue.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults