Don't mess with Mama Bear. Mothers will be able to identify with Claire Hanover, who goes into protective mode when her daughter is threatened in Beth Groundwater's To Hell in a Handbasket.
Claire Hanover had hoped to have time with her daughter, Judy, when she and her husband, Roger, brought her home from her spring semester in France, and took her skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado. But, twenty-one-year-old Judy made plans to meet up with her boyfriend's family, getting to know them. Judy and Nick's sister, Stephanie, became friends instantly, so much so that when a snowboarder almost ran them off the slope, they chased after him. Claire and Roger allowed the two younger women to go ahead, but took off immediately when they heard Judy's scream. They found a tragedy, Stephanie's body crumpled at the base of a tree.
Judy blames the snowboarder, but Claire is a little suspicious because she found ski tracks heading directly toward Stephanie. Unfortunately, when the ski patrol arrived, the tracks were obliterated. Claire doesn't have evidence to convince Sheriff's Detective Owen Silverstone, but she has her suspicions. And, all of her instincts say there was someone other than the snowboarder involved.
When she meets Nick's family at the hospital, Nick and his father's actions do nothing to allay Claire's suspicions. Her hackles rise, when she realizes she knows nothing about the young man her daughter likes. Judy won't like it, but Claire Hanover will do everything she can to ensure her daughter's safety, even if it means pushing herself into the investigation of a suspicious death.
Claire Hanover says, "I'm a gift basket designer, a mother, and a wife, and that's all." Those are the roles that are important to her, and the reasons she found herself caught up in two mysteries, first in Beth Groundwater's A Real Basket Case, and now in To Hell in a Handbasket. She's a mother afraid to let go of her adult daughter, and facing threats to her family. She'll work hand-in-hand with the police, but nothing will stop her from protecting Judy when she's in danger.
Groundwater's book is a fast-paced family mystery, for readers who enjoy Diane Mott Davidson's books. The book has the same family feeling that Davidson's fans will appreciate.
Of course, this is Claire Hanover's story, To Hell in a Handbasket. To read Judy's side of the story, check back here on Wednesday, May 27, when Judy Hanover gets a chance to air her views.
If you comment on Beth's blog (http://bethgroundwater.blogspot.com) anytime during her May blog book tour, you will be entered into a drawing for an autographed set of both books in the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series: A REAL BASKET CASE and TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET. Good luck!
To Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater. Five Star, ©2009. ISBN 9781594147593 (hardcover), 268p.