“The Hangman’s Noose” by Judy Penz Sheluk is set in the small, picturesque, Canadian town of Lount’s Landing. Emily Garland lands a prestigious assignment as the editor of the town’s upscale magazine, but she soon finds out that when a job offer seems too good to be true it probably is.
Along with its charming setting, Lount’s Landing has a notorious history, hence the business named “The Hangman’s Noose.” The first hurdle for Garland is that she is both an outsider and the editor of a magazine that promotes a small town that might not want to be promoted. The otherwise delightful town is in turmoil due to encroaching real estate development and the hint of a “big box” store opening; two circumstances that might devastate the old-fashioned downtown and send the quaint bed and breakfast economy into a death spiral.
Many diverse and complex characters drive this story. The town’s infamous past is matched only by the hidden secrets of its residents. The discovery of a dead body ignites accusations and infighting; tensions intensify as the body count rises. Everyone has something to gain by the deaths; everyone has a hidden secret, and everyone is a suspect.
The plot realistically reflects the redevelopment and economic problems that many small towns face. In this story, economic uncertainty is complicated by the deaths; nothing hurts a small-town tourist economy like a few dead bodies.
The plot has drama, trauma, and a little fun as well. It is enjoyable, creative, well written, and easy to read. The twists and turns do not end until the book does. The ending opens the door for future adventures with the quirky characters who live in Lount’s Landing.
Judy Penz Sheluk sent me the audio version of “The Hangman’s Noose,” narrated by Suzanne Fortin. The audio was a pleasant and clearly articulated. Fortin was able to deliver the diverse personalities of both female and male characters. I listen to audio books as I go for a morning run because the suspense motivates me to get out. I did a lot of running during this book because I was compelled to listen to find out what happened next.