Title: An Eggshell Present: An Abishag's Fourth MysteryAuthor: Michelle Knowlden
After three comatose husbands and three murders, it finally seems that Leslie Greene's days of being an Abishag wife are behind her. But a personal tragedy pulls her into a marriage with a dying man one final time. Money launderers, mysterious old case files, and vengeance-seeking siblings circle her latest assignment. But the hardest thing Leslie has to face is her own beliefs. When you work as an Abishag wife, life is as precious and fragile as an eggshell present. Can she find the courage to hope in the midst of heartbreak?
If you haven't read the other Abishag mysteries, go and read them first. This final novella contains spoilers from every previous book and concludes several character arcs and themes woven throughout the series.
Michelle Knowlden writes beautifully. Her strength is her characters, and they suck you into their world. I think that's why her books keep getting better and better--with every one I read, I fall more in love with the characters. Each new story cuts a little closer to Leslie's core, and this one cuts deepest of all and forces her to take a great leap forward in character development.
The beginning caught my attention. Almost from the first paragraph, I felt a deep sense of dread. Things happened quickly after that, and it was hard for me to put the book down. There was a lot of drama and poignant emotions. One of my favorite images in the book was that of a tangerine tree and a sudden harvest of fruit it gave right before it died. Leslie speaks of cherishing each precious remaining moment like it was a tangerine from a final harvest.
But the book also has moments of humor as well, especially towards the end. I was surprised how much I laughed. One of the things I loved was the way Leslie started taking self-defense classes, showing she's improving. The mystery, as in all of the books, take second fiddle to the character development, but I didn't mind. It was a fitting end to a wonderful series.