August 20, 2011
By Warren Dunn, “A Virginia Kind of Murder” opens with the discovery of Elizabeth Harding “Bess” Truscott dead “…on the carpeted floor of the Truscott Family Museum, resting on her stomach between two display cases holding an extensive collection of Bibles, one of which has been removed and now lay under her right hand.” Thus begins one of the most bizarre high profile cases ever investigated by Lt. Lou Brown, of the Technical Support Group of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Virginia State Police. Brown, an African-American, is regarded as one of the unit’s best investigators and is assured of a long-awaited promotion if he solves the murder of “the most fearsome of Corinth County’s warriors against change.” But once on the job, Brown learns that everyone and no one is a suspect and, love her or hate her, Bess Truscott was pivotal in the lives of those closest to her. There is open warfare between her, the Executive Director of the museum, the Assistant Director of Economic Development for Corinth County, her partner in the Middle Earth Winery, and the “come heres” who threaten the bucolic nature of her piece of Paradise.
As Brown and Corinth County Sheriff Tommy Edison follow the clues that uncover the secrets of those close to Bess, her death almost becomes a sideshow. The two lawmen discover that the museum is a front for the illegal sale of looted treasures from the ancient Mediterranean. and that Bess herself has a dark secret that she carried to the grave.
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