Front Page Murder (A Homefront News Mystery #1) by Joyce St. Anthony


“Irene Ingram has written for her father’s newspaper, the Progress Herald, ever since she could grasp a pencil. Now she’s editor in chief, which doesn’t sit well with the men in the newsroom. But proving her journalistic bona fides is the least of Irene’s worries when crime reporter Moe Bauer, on the heels of a hot tip, turns up dead at the foot of his cellar stairs. An accident? That’s what Police Chief Walt Turner thinks, and Irene is inclined to agree – until she finds the note Moe discreetly left on her desk. He was on to a big story, he wrote. The robber she’d assigned him to cover at Markowicz Hardware turned out to be something far more devious. A Jewish store owner in a small, provincial town, Sam Markowicz received a terrifying message from a stranger. Moe suspected that Sam is being threatened not only for who he is…but for what he knows. Tenacious Irene sense there’s more to the Marcowicz story, which she is all but certain led to Moe’s murder. When she’s not filling up column inches with the usual small-town fare – locals in uniform, victory gardens, and scrap drives – she and her best friend, scrappy secretary Peggy Reardon, search for clues. If they can find the killer, it’ll be a scoop to stop the presses. But if they can’t, Irene and Peggy may face an all-too-literal deadline.”

-Synopsis from inside front cover


Cover image from StoryGraph

I came across this book at the library one day and thought the cover was really cute. I couldn’t quite tell if it was a historical mystery or a cozy mystery, but since I have yet to read a historical mystery I decided to try it out.

I thought this was a great read! A blurb on the cover mentions there is a great sense of time and place and I couldn’t agree more. The setting of a small town in Pennsylvania in 1942 really comes alive on the page as everything from the character’s clothing, dialogue, homes, and work seems to be very authentically described.

I liked Irene’s character right away because female journalists are one of my favorite characters to read about. She has taken over her father’s position at the Progress Herald because he’s out on the front lines covering the war. She handles herself well in the face of the everyday sexism that was rampant at the time.

The story was paced well and almost every chapter had a cliffhanger ending which made for a quick read because at times it was hard to put down. The mystery itself is also very WWII-centric and involves a local initiative at a nearby factory. There are plenty of interesting supporting characters from the new boarder that moves into Irene’s family home, to the busybody locals in Progress, and the people Irene meets while investigating at the factory, Tabor Ironworks.

This book was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be for a historical mystery, and I really enjoyed it. I think this will be a genre that I will keep an eye out for in the future. I was also happy to see that the second book in the series is already out, and I plan to read it.

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