When a person dies it is hard to make the adjustment back to life. You tend to hide in activities and idiosyncrasies you weren’t aware of.

Our main character has lost a wife. It was reported as a murder. It has been 20 years and he has estranged his children. He hides in memorizing and spouting trivia. He still has his business, the Upstate Home and Garden Bazaar. ”He had delegated so many responsibilities here at work that he had very little real work to do. He knew he could be gone for weeks without being missed, but he had no intention of going away for even one week. He liked to keep an eye on things.”

The catalyst for reconnecting with his family is simple. He needs another worker in his store. One of the applicants for a job is the daughter of his wife’s best friend. He really doesn’t want to hire her yet finds himself doing so. This sends him on a search to reconnect with the past.

Grieving is not a solo activity. One of the steps of grieving is to reconnect. Some are able to move on and others just stagnate. Grieving affect your offspring also — they can read you.

Ben decides he will give it a try and reconnect with his children, even though it appears they don’t want to reconnect with him. They feel that they have moved on and dad has decided to stagnate behind his trivia.

Now Ben is trying to find a way to turn down Kay’s daughter who has come looking for a job. His wife, Chloe, had said to him, “You’re not nearly as gruff on the inside as you try to make people think you are.” It is this trait that prevails as he hires the girl who proves to be very valuable.

The book’s primary subplot concerns closure. What really happened 20 years ago when Ben was suspected of murdering his wife. Ben’s administrative assistant, Caroline does some detective work. She locates the paper with the help of the Derby Daily News morgue librarian named Mavis. “She handed Caroline a file folder labeled “Murder/Buckley, Chloe” and before leaving, she grew serious and asked gently, “You related to the victim?”

“Caroline lowered her eyes and said, “Well, in a roundabout way, yes.”

She reads three articles of that time which lead her to conclude “this case would make a bad movie, a horrible book.” Before leaving the morgue she “knew one thing — from what she had read, she wasn’t impressed with the police and detectives who handled the case.”

In the end Caroline must agree “Some of the deepest, darkest secrets are meant to remain as such.”

The book is a good one to read if you are having trouble sleeping. It has good characters that you are sure to come away feeling that you know them. They are your neighbors.

Reading is good for you. It opens up the world of ideas. Let the best looking book reviewer in Santa Monica expose you to facts and people. Contact him at smdp_review@yahoo.com and suggest some areas you would like to explore.

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