Formaldehyde, Rooster: The Fourth Penny Weaver Mystery
Penny Weaver, a post-menopausal poet, returns to her village of Riverdell, N.C. after a relaxing summer in Wales with her long-distance husband, Kenneth Morgan, a detective inspector with the Swansea police. She learns that 1) her daughter, Sarah has left her husband and moved into Penny’s room; 2) Ralph Andrews, an unsavory politician, has taken over their community group, ActNow and 3) the local particle board plant, Sampson Pine, is a major polluter of formaldehyde, which is making people sick. After a forum with the Department of Air Quality and the Sampson Pine executives, Penny is roused from sleep with the news that Andrews had a heart attack and died on the way home from the meeting. The next evening Derek Hargrave questions Penny’s housemates who were at the ActNow meeting, and Penny learns Andrews was killed by a massive dose of digitalis administered in his coffee. Her dear friend Cathy is suspected because she gave out the coffee at the forum.
Formaldehyde, Rooster is a lovely mystery seasoned with a warm local community, love, family crisis, activism, and murder. Not only has the ActNow group been taken over by a car salesman, but Riverdell is dealing with serious air pollution. Penny Weaver shows us again the strength of the soft power of detection based on acute observation and deep understanding of the politics and culture of her community. She reminds us that nicely drawn characters do not have to be dark and twisted creatures. Every new chapter has been a high point of my day.
–Pete MacDowell, community organizer and poet
Hogan’s new mystery affirms that people who are self-serving and provoke conflict reap the consequences and good people don’t die although they may struggle. Penny notes that the middle class life may seem more secure but security can’t be bought against things that hurt human beings so much. Besides the actual murder, Shagbark people are slowly dying from formaldehyde emissions. Enjoy this mystery with a twist and many interesting turns.
–Mary Susan Heath, Goldsboro writer and poet
Formaldehyde, Rooster came out December 1, 2016. $15 paper, $2.99 Kindle. Available on Amazon and at local Triangle area (NC) independent bookstores, or from Hoganvillaea Press, P.O. Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559. $16 (with tax) to pick up; $19 to have it signed and mailed. Checks to Judy Hogan.