ROBIN HATHAWAY “Does Thee Murder?” Short story. Dr. Andrew Fenimore. Short story. Published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2013.

   Of the four Dr. Fenimore detective stories that are so indicated in the online Crime Fiction Index, this is number four. Between 1998 and 2006 author Robin Hathaway also wrote five full-length novels with Dr. Fenimore, none of which I’ve read.

   This may have been a serious error on my part. I thought they were cozies, but on the basis of this particular story, at least, Dr. Fenimore is actually a very good amateur detective, and the mystery he tackles in “Does Thee Kill?” is a serious one.

   In this tale an elderly woman, a devout Quaker, is attacked and killed while taking a walk near her isolated old mansion of a home, which has become isolated in a small neighborhood of Philadelphia that has been going downhill for several years. The police think it’s nothing more than a random mugging, but Dr. Fenimore wonders about it and decides to make some inquiries. If the police are wrong, he’d like to do something about it.

   Besides following his investigation closely, the story includes a intimate description of what a Quaker funeral is like. Set in austere surroundings, the people congregated together there sit in silence until someone feels the urge to stand up and say something heartfelt about the deceased.

   All of the characters are real people, and Fenimore’s detective work is solidly done. Of special note, the ending is most satisfactory. Other authors may have taken another page or so to include a complete explanation. It pleases me to say that Robin Hathaway did not believe she needed to, and she was right.