M. K. WREN – Seasons of Death. Conan Flagg #5. Doubleday/Crime Club, hardcover 1981. Ballantine, paperback, 1989.

   This was the fifth adventure of PI/bookseller Conan Flagg. It came out in 1981, but for some reason there has been only  one since, unless I’ve lost track. [This was written in 1989, and I hadn’t.] Conan, half Indian/half Irish, lives in Oregon, and is wealthy enough to be selective on the cases he accepts.

   He spends all his time in an isolated corner of Idaho in this one, though, trying to solve a murder committed 40 years before. As he does so, what author M. K. Wren [the pen name of Martha Kay Renfroe] does, and most acceptably so, is combine the PI story with the “cozy” mystery, however it is you define “cozy.”

PostScript: Since you asked, and most politely, too, I’ll see if I can explain. It’s the type of timeless story filled with the kind of people and locals you feel at home with, along with the added comfort of realizing that problems are meant to be solved. (Truth doesn’t always equal happiness, true, but in the end, everyone accepts it as preferable to the alternative.)

–Reprinted with slight revisions from Mystery*File #13, June 1989


      The Conan Flagg series –

1. Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat (1973)


2. A Multitude of Sins (1975)
3. Oh, Bury Me Not (1976)
4. Nothing’s Certain But Death (1978)
5. Seasons of Death (1981)
6. Wake Up, Darlin’ Corey (1984)
7. Dead Matter (1993)
8. King of the Mountain (1994)