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Hardcover First Murder in Advent: An Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Mystery Book

ISBN: 159414527X

ISBN13: 9781594145278

First Murder in Advent: An Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Mystery

(Book #2 in the Elizabeth Pepperhawk & Avivah Rosen Mystery Series)

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Delicious Reading With Tangling Sub-Plots

Sharon Wildwind's first mystery (Some Welcome Home) captured my imagination and made me want to know more about the protagonists, Elizabeth Pepperhawk and Avivah Rosen. The series is unique in that it features women who have served in Viet Nam, as Wildwind herself did. Her books portrays both the disturbing aspects of war and the camaraderie that can develop between those who serve. In Wildwind's second mystery, First Murder in Advent (set in 1972), Army nurse Pepperhawk is between assignments when she receives a call from Benny Kirkpatrick, ex-Special Forces first sergeant. Their friend Avivah is in trouble, and with Benny and Avivah's friend, has sought refuge in a convent in the mountains of North Carolina. When Pepper goes to help, she finds military intelligence officer Darby Baxter, her on-again, off-again love interest, with three other men. What follows are days without electricity in a mostly empty convent, in a snowstorm. Avivah, Pepper, Darby and Benny, along with a few nuns and some members of a paramilitary think tank, struggle to survive the cold amidst murder, secret passageways and lost wills--delicious reading with tangling sub-plots. Pepper confronts her childhood experience of Catholicism, while Avivah must contend with the nuns' suspicions of her Judaism. Our heroes all survive. although some of the other characters do not. In the third book, Soldier on the Porch (set in 1973), Pepper is now a civilian nurse and Avivah works with a security team for a Veterans Administration hospital in North Carolina. They live on a rural, mountain homestead with two houses. They are living in one while Benny, his friend Loraine, and her two sons live in the other. The story opens with a bang (actually an explosion) and Pepper throwing herself on top of a patient to protect him from falling beams. Because she had been called in to work at the last moment and had had a drink of wine with dinner, she finds herself facing disciplinary action and counseling. One of the two men killed in the explosion had been Avivah's senior officer in Viet Nam, a man who was also under investigation by the FBI and military intelligence officer Lieutenant Colonel Darby Baxterin. Someone is trying to kill Avivah or Pepper. But which one? And why? For a third time, these three ex-soldiers find themselves with a murder or two on their hands. Once again, the sub-plots twist and turn, jolting the reader with surprise after unexpected surprise. Wildwind draws very real, psychologically complex characters. In the end, she tucks most of the loose threads into the narrative fabric, although there seems to be a hint of more story to come. If you enjoy being held in believable suspense by a fine writer, try Sharon Wildwind's mystery series. _________________________ Sharon Wildwind served in Vietnam as a U.S. Army nurse. A Canadian, she is married to a military historian. by Judith Helburn for StorycircleBookReviews [...] reviewing books by, for, and about wo

Smashing Sequel

This sequel to Wildwind's memorable first novel, Some Welcome Home, follows her Vietnam veterans returning stateside to find an uneasy peace with a hostile population. Most damaged by tragic secrets among her war memories is nurse Elizabeth Pepperhawk's MP friend Avivah. A scuffle in NYC with shots fired and possible harmful publiciity have forced Avivah to take refuge in a convent-retreat in the hills of rural, remote North Carolina. With her is another army buddy, the redoubtable Benny, and a new male "friend" who seeks to shield her in her fragile emotional state. To add to the mix, a violent snowstorm is raging. Upon arriving to help, Pepperhawk knows not what to expect, but school memories of strict ladies in black and white make her mind her manners. As it turns out, the convent is peopled by a host of elderly nuns of all quirky persuasions, eking out a living before the motherhouse relocates them. As for the extensive property, a very suspicious paramilitary organization headed by a retired general is interested in converting the buildings into a think tank, or so the man claims. In a very short time, a body turns up. It's the new boyfriend of Avivah, who is now in a near-catatonic state but revives as her MP instincts kick in and she seeks to find the murderer. Wildwind keeps the pace moving while shuffling a deck of wonderful characters. Pepperhawk is the mainstay of common sense, but Avivah makes a fine counterpoint with a sharp intellect which doesn't suffer fools gladly, and Benny, the male bolster, stands by to add his bluff support to all efforts. The setting fits the plot to perfection as Wildwind captures the stark and dangerous nature of a blizzard in the mountains, along with crashing trees and a pitch-dark and freezing shelter. It's a locked-room mystery with a twist. Bring a blanket and hot chocolate for this one. It's no surprise that her first novel was welcomed with acclaim. Few female novelists have the background to write with authority and compassion about the trials facing returning vets. Sharon served in the US Army Nurse Corps from 1968-1972. She has a spine of steel and a warm hug for those who need it. Her third, Soldier on the Porch, is in the offing for October.

Engaging story, compelling characters

Sharon Wildwind has created a classic mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the end, and yet, the murderer makes perfect sense when exposed. Wildwind draws her central characters - Elizabeth Pepperhawk, Avivah Rosen, and Benny Kirkpatrick - true-to-life, compelling readers to care about them and root for them. As a bonus, readers get an insider's view of Vietnam and the effect it had on those who served, especially when they returned home. A must-read for mystery fans and history fans.

A classic mystery made contemporary and compelling

Fifty years ago, Agatha Christie might have used this plot--a group of people, each with more than one secret, trapped by a snowstorm in an unlikely and remote place. Some are strangers, some best friends, some lovers, some mercenaries, and at least one, a murderer. But this is a classic mystery made contemporary and compelling with the specter of Vietnam. Whether you lived it or just read about it, it couldn't fail to change you. Sharon Wildwind, a nurse who served her own stint there, reminds us all of the terrors in country, and the ghosts that still haunt the survivors. In fact, the Vietnam War looms like a character of its own, keeping secrets, changing lives and demanding bravery. Wildwind's main characters Elizabeth Pepperhawk and Avivah Rosen--who share the point of view--bicker and love each other like sisters, each battling her own demons from the military. With stalwart Green Beret veteran Benny Kirkpatrick, they're back in the US in 1972, struggling to return to whatever 'normal' means, and knowing that may never be possible. Now, faced with a murder--or murders--and no way to escape, they must join forces to save themselves and their colleagues again. Wildwind deftly juggles a cast of characters--each a suspect--and wraps up her complicated and original mystery in a surprising and satisfying way. It's clear--and what a relief--that there's more to come in this stark and insightful series, and readers will look forward to finding out what happens to this trio of comrades, Vietnam vets turned detectives. When you close the cover after the last page--you'll miss them.

fascinating Viet Nam era mystery

In 1972 Fort Bragg, Captain Elizabeth receives a call from her friend former Special Forces Sergeant Benny Kirkpatrick that their mutual pal Military Police Captain Avivah Rosen and he were involved in a gun fight in Central Park when she went after a thief. He also says they are going away to hide at the Convent of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Crossmore, North Carolina on the other side of the state from Fayetteville, Bragg's home station locale. Elizabeth agrees to meet up with her best friends. At the Convent just before Advent, Elizabeth sees a strange combination of people welcoming her besides her two friends including the mysterious Major Darby Baxter with his zillion AKAs, who she assumes is an undercover agent of sorts, but not sure for which agency. However, a friendly reunion turns ugly when someone using a garrote murders another guest Gary Dormouth who had accompanied Avivah when she came down from New York. The three soldiers begin to investigate the homicide as they hope to uncover the killer before he or she plays Agatha Christie's ten Little Indians with them. The latest Viet Nam era mystery is a superb tale that showcases how difficult returning to the States were on the soldiers and how little official recognition was accorded females who served in the war zone. The whodunit is cleverly set up so that there is a myriad of suspects so that historical mystery readers will appreciate the story line. However, as with SOME WELCOME HOME, it is the cast especially the two female officers who seem real as they adapt to returning to an unwelcoming world. Harriet Klausner
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