Friday, January 5, 2024

Murder Outside the Box by Saralyn Richard


Murder Outside the Box is the fourth entry in the Detective Parrott mystery series that began with Murder in the One Percent. Set in the Brandywine area near Philadelphia, the mystery begins when Detective Oliver Parrott responds to a call about a baby left in a cardboard box with two bottles of breast milk on the doorstep of a caretaker’s cottage on a sprawling estate. When Parrott sees the longing in the reaction to the baby from the childless young woman who lives with her caretaker husband in the cottage, he wonders if her desire for a child might have anything to do with the baby. He later ponders whether he might be viewing the scene through his own circumstances as he has recently learned that a possible fertility problem may interfere with his wife’s and his ability to have children. 

The plot intensifies when a young woman who’d recently given birth is found dead in a remote area on a nearby estate owned by a billionaire Scotch whiskey baron. DNA evidence shows that the baby and the woman are not related and Parrott seeks clues in the breast milk left with the baby. Parrott and the forensic team supporting him engage with sophisticated tools and a clever collaborative effort to determine the identities of the woman and child and to find the woman’s killer.

Author Saralyn Richard offers convincing red herrings that add to the suspense while providing the reader with information leading to the determination of whodunit without sacrificing character development or insight into why the murder was committed. The book also shares fascinating information about fertility, DNA, and databases.

Summing it Up: Read Murder Outside the Box to follow one of my favorite characters, Detective Oliver Parrott, as he solves another mystery. Settle in on a long winter’s night to a tale that will challenge your detecting ability while offering an escape from the dreary days. Play along with Detective Parrott as he looks for evidence and clues “outside the box” to solve a murder that seems impossible to resolve.

A note: I first met Saralyn Richard on a baseball field when both our sons were young. She later moved to Texas and I became reacquainted with her when a favorite publicist sent me a review copy of Murder in the One Percent believing I would enjoy it, which I did. I share that and the fact that when I begin reading a book, I immerse myself in the characters and setting and rarely think about the author or anything else. So, when I came across a minor character, a journalist named Trina Hayes, in Murder Outside the Box, I first considered it a simple coincidence. A paragraph later, I recalled that Saralyn was the book’s author and realized that she had most likely used my name with intention. I am grateful for the honor. I also applaud her sharing information about fertility in the novel. As one of many grandparents of children who exist because of science and the team at Northwestern Medicine Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Chicago, I am most appreciative.

Rating: 5 Stars 

Publication Date: January 5, 2024

Category: Fiction, Five Stars, Mysteries and Thrillers, Book Club

Author Website: 

Author Insight: 

Interview with the Author: 

What Others are Saying:

“A masterful mystery. move it to the top of your reading list.” Avanti Centrae, best-selling author of the VanOps thriller series

“When an abandoned baby is found outside a cottage, not far from where a woman who might be the mother lies dead, Detective Parrott displays out-of-the-box thinking, as he endeavors to solve the murder and determine the baby’s parentage. Richard keeps the reader guessing while conveying the meticulous nature of police work. Reproduction and parenthood are just a few issues Parrott must deal with in the case and in his own marriage. Full of twists and surprises, Murder Outside the Box is a great addition to this series.” Debbie Mack, New York Times best-selling author of the Sam McRae and Erica Jensen mystery series

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks, Trina. I'm so glad the story resonated with you, and glad you found the "Easter egg."