Rose Donovan and Peg Turnbull could hardly be more different. Rose is a former nun who runs a women’s shelter with her husband. She has no pets and always tries to find the good side of people. Peg, her sister-in-law, is brusque and completely devoted to her Poodles, judging dog shows and generally running whatever she’s involved with at the moment. Rose and Peg have bickered for over forty years…from the time when Peg met, then married Rose’s brother Max, the love of Peg’s life.

When Rose and her husband move back to the area, she attempts to find a way to reconnect with widowed Peg. And the two end up teaming up to join a local bridge club. They are starting to find ways to get along a bit more smoothly when one of the club members is murdered. Since Rose and Peg are the newest members, suspicion falls on them. Peg, of course, is hot on the trail to find the killer, dragging Rose along with her. As the two work together, they find out a lot more about the people with whom they’ve been playing bridge. And they draw the attention of the murderer as well. 

I wasn’t sure how it would work to have the least appealing character (for me) in the Melanie Travis mystery series have her own spin-off. We’ve all known or have a Peg in our lives who bosses everyone around, expecting everyone else to follow their lead, jump to do their bidding and who wants to make the decisions. But Ms. Berenson did a good job by balancing Peg’s abrasiveness with Rose’s genuine kindness and regard for others. And they end up making a very good team.

It’s lovely to see two sixty-plus women portrayed as active, contributing, energetic members of their community, improving the situation for others.

Well done, Ms. Berenson.

4 stars