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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Shades of Darkness is a work of fiction in the murder mystery genre. It is suitable for all ages and was penned by Margaret M Ford. The book follows Ben Appleton, a young member of the Mayfield family. The Mayfields are surviving the 1930s Depression by profiting from the suffering of those less fortunate, so when he gets the chance to grow up independently of his family he takes it. But as an adult with the world moving toward war, Ben remembers his childhood goal: unmask the killer of his grandfather. It may have been many years since the murder took place, but his inquiries will draw the attention of people willing to murder to keep their secrets safe.
This is an excellent murder mystery, revolving around an unusual and unhappy family during a period of great turbulence for those living in America. Ben Appleton is an engaging and three-dimensional character whose journey from neglected youth to an independent young man to amateur detective is seamlessly told by Margaret M Ford, whose mastery of prose writing makes the story a delight to read. Eschewing many convenient conventions of the mystery genre by having the complex relationship between detective, victim, and suspects be both unique and already established, Shades of Darkness is a very refreshing read for fans of the genre. A creative twist on the genre with a highly authentic depiction of the Great Depression and a diverse cast of deeply flawed family members, this book is an absolute must-read.