“Left Field” by Elizabeth Sims
Home runs, homicide, and humour.
Left Field is the fifth book in the Lillian Byrd Crime Series by Elizabeth Sims. Each novel can stand alone, so the reader doesn’t need to worry about missing anything from a previous book. We get just enough backstory and information about previous incidents to give us a good foundation, but it’s done in a way that isn’t overwhelming or boring.
This installment features a quirky mother-daughter pair, reminiscent of the Grey Gardens Bouvier-Beales. Lillian, a freelance journalist and sometimes private investigator, has been performing assorted household chores for them, including solving various “mysteries” that usually end up being attributed to misplacing something or raccoons. That is, until she spies a body from their roof during one of these routine investigations. Lillian gets pulled into the fracas and along the way begins to uncover questionable business practices, squatters, and a baby raccoon named Raquel, all the while becoming one leg of a softball team love triangle.
The novel is filled with witty dialogue and humorous situations. Ms. Sims is particularly accomplished in character development. Lillian is extremely perceptive, lending well to her chosen profession(s), and through her we get significant insight into a host of fully developed secondary characters. Lillian is also flawed and reacts realistically to the various situations she finds herself drawn into, making her relatable and likable.
The mystery is well done and complex but not overly so, and the author did an admirable job making us second-guess our assumptions throughout the book. This one is filled with deception, shady dealings, conspiracies, and questionable characters. What more could a reader ask for?
Left Field is a very well-written, engaging mystery that we definitely recommend.