By Scott Sullivan
Fr. G. Corwin Stoppel is celebrating the holidays with release of the fourth novel in his Great Saugatuck Murder Mystery Series: “The Murder of the Saugatuck Yarn Hoarder.”
The Commercial Record columnist and 28-year All Saints’ Episcopal Church rector revisits the town in the 1920s — the era of the Big Pavilion and dance bands, Prohibition and bootleggers, flappers and swells who have come to enjoy a fun time — to engage readers with a yarn, this time, about yarn.
Moments before Dr. Horace Balfour is to give the Decoration Day speech, the ceremony is interrupted by news of a fatal house fire. Fairy Nightshade, the town’s sharp-tongued gossip, is found dead, face down in the back room where she kept yarn stash.
Despite the police chief’s certainty it was an accident, Balfour and his eccentric companion, retired forensic pathologist Dr. Beatrix Howell, believe it was murder.
Together with Balfour’s brother Dr. Theo and their driver Fred, they realize almost everyone in town had a good reason to wish Fairy Nightshade dead, making them all suspects. Despised, she was blackmailing nearly everyone.
Reluctantly, Horace enlists his granddaughter Phoebe to work as his spy by joining a group of knitters, hoping she can help unravel the mystery. The Balfours and Beatrix are about to reveal the murderer when the proverbial “shot rings out.”
“Murder” is available at Mr. Miller’s Art Emporium in Douglas, Saugatuck Drug Store, It Is What It is in Saugatuck and Garenhuis Yarn Studio on 9th Street in Holland.
Stoppel assures readers there will be a fifth mystery next year: “Murder on the Saugatuck Chain Ferry.”