Death on the Tower by Lee Strauss

death on the tower

Title: Death on the Tower (A Higgins and Hawke Mystery #2)

Author: Lee Strauss

Published on: 23rd April 2019

Genre: Historical Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Eye Witnesses state that Mrs Olivia Gray jumped to her death from the seventh floor of the Customs House. But Dr Haley Higgins isn’t sure if it was a suicide or a murder. Samantha Hawke is enjoying her job as an investigative reporter. She reaches the crime scene to find her rival Johnny there. She’s accidentally pushed by a man who later apologizes to her and requests her to join him for dinner. Sam refuses his offer. The man introduces himself as Richard Wentworth, a British National.

The mayor doesn’t want Higgins to conduct an autopsy as it was clearly a case of suicide – with the ongoing Great Depression, many people are jumping to their deaths. But Higgins isn’t convinced. With the help of her assistant, Martin, Higgins conducts an experiment and she’s now convinced that Mrs Gray was murdered. Meanwhile, Hawke gets a call from an anonymous tipster saying that Mrs Gray was murdered. 

This is the second book in the Higgins and Hawke Mystery series. If you read my review of the first book – Death at the Tavern – you would know that I was all praises for this series. And my opinion hasn’t changed. The second book in the series is superb! I liked it more than the first book. So I guess this means I am going to keep some high expectations from this series. 😉

The first book in the series was more about introductions to the characters. There was a bit of amateur sleuthing too but not as much as it is in this book. In Death at the Tavern, Higgins and Hawke’s lives were in danger and they barely managed to escape unhurt. The two ladies seemed to form a connection from their first meet. In this book, their bond is strengthened.

Samantha’s mother in law, Bina, is calmer than before (thank god!!) Talia, Sam’s daughter, seems to have made friends at school. Molly, Haley’s housekeeper, seems to be keeping herself busy (No spoilers here ;)) Detective Cluney knows that the ladies will not stop until they get to the bottom of this murder mess but warns them to be careful. Tom Bell still likes Sam but she isn’t sure about her feelings – with her good-for-nothing husband either dead or missing, she doesn’t know if she’s supposed to call herself a widow or not. Oh yes, how can I not mention Haley’s three-legged cat, Mr Midnight!! He’s such an adorable feline!

The story is set in the 1930s. Women weren’t encouraged to work, especially not after marriage. Mrs Gray was allowed to work after marriage but when it came to promotions, her work was side-lined. Sam is in charge of the ladies column at the Boston Daily Record. She sees her neighbour being abused by her husband and pitches an idea to her boss – an anonymous column dedicated to the voice of battered wives.

The surprising element in the story was Johnny’s behaviour. I disliked Johnny in the first book. He irritated Sam a lot – wants to date her and doesn’t take no for an answer. Even in this story, he continues to pester her. As the story proceeds, the readers get to see a new side of Johnny. Richard Wentworth plays a really interesting role in the story.

There are so many things going on in this story and I cannot say anything much without making this review a spoiler. The twists and turns in the story keep one hooked on to the story. The story is fast paced and Strauss’ storytelling is excellent. If I like a book from a series, I usually look forward to reading the rest. Higgins and Hawke Mystery series is one such book and it has managed to capture my attention – like, totally!

Though this book is tagged under the genre cozy mystery, it is a bit different from the usual books of this genre. A tinge of cozy with loads of historical stuff, if you ask me. Nevertheless, it is always good to try books outside your comfort zone. I gave this series a try and I absolutely loved it. And I hope you do too. 🙂

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