O'C0nnell, Carol. Winter House.
I love O'Connell's Mallory novels. I've not been as impressed by her stand-alones, but Kathleen Mallory is one of the most unusual protagonists I've ever encountered. O'Connell's minor characters Detective Sergeant Riker and Charles Butler are perfect foils for Mallory and each involves the reader in his own right.
When a burglar is killed by an old woman, the initial interest is because the house was the scene of horrific murders and a missing child nearly sixty years earlier. On second glance, however, it seems that the dead man was not actually a burglar, but a serial killer that Mallory and Riker had in their sights. And then the scissors with which he was stabbed were not the cause of death...
The original investigation expands, and as it does, the murder of a family and a missing child also begins to unravel.
Mallory--often referred to as a sociopath, so damaged by her terrible childhood that even the loving intervention of her adoptive parents can only partially redeem her-- has moments in this novel that indicate a bit of a sea-change. Her inability to communicate her feelings (and to comprehend the feelings of others) leads even those who love her to suspect her behavior, and Charles Butler actually stands up to her in this novel.
When I read the first Mallory novel years ago, I remember being confused at times because Mallory's background is dropped into the narrative little by little, and even in the first novel the back story (though incomplete and added to novel by novel) is so important. The character of Kathy Mallory is unique in crime and mystery fiction and well worth following book by book!
O'Connell's Mallory series ranks in my top ten mystery favorites.
Fiction. Crime/Mystery. 2004. 306 pages