Jan 19 2017 3:00pm

Review: Keys to Nowhere by Dorothy H. Hayes

Keys to Nowhere by Dorothy H. Hayes is the 3rd volume in the Carol Rossi Mystery series.

Read Leigh Neely's review of Keys to Nowhere, and make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win this new Carol Rossi Mystery!

Carol Rossi is one of my favorite characters. I’ve read all the books in this series by Dorothy H. Hayes, beginning with Murder at the P&Z. Rossi is an investigative reporter in a small Connecticut town, and no matter where the crime occurs, she manages to find ways to use her journalism techniques to help solve it.

Things are different now. Rossi is at home with a new baby she adores and happy to be truly living in “Peaceable Kingdom,” which is what her husband Jerry calls their farm filled with rescue animals. She may be older than your average new mom, but she’s loving the feel of her daughter in her arms and the beauty of sharing a child with her beloved husband.

All of that changes when Vera Dearborn, a fellow choir member from the local Episcopal church, arrives in a distraught state. Vera’s sister had taken Vera’s two daughters on an Arizona vacation, and the trio had been calling Vera every morning and every evening—but now they’ve missed two calls, and Vera is frantic.

She stared at me. “When I didn’t hear from her last night, I called the Tucson Inn on North Sabino Canyon Road, Rossi. They weren’t there!” She stared down at the floor. “Did I get it wrong? That’s what I’m wondering. Did she say something else?” She looked at me again. “I don’t know if they were just going to drive over to Sabino Canyon for a hike before they moved into the Tucson Inn. But even if they did, they should have checked in last night! Oh, I didn’t stop calling all night, talking to people there at the inn. Driving them crazy. The desk clerk said she’d call me if they checked in. I spoke to a manager this morning who also promised to call me if they checked in. 

“And here it is, Sunday, almost eleven o’clock— eight, their time, with the three-hour time difference—and I’ve heard nothing from the manager at the Tucson Inn! Or my sister since yesterday morning!”

As many mystery writers do, Hayes introduces us to her villain at the beginning of the book, so we readers know what has happened to the aunt and her two nieces. And because we’re in on it, we know how important it is for Rossi to help.

But how can she leave her precious new baby? How will her husband manage his full-time job as a police officer and keep things going on the farm without Rossi to help him? Rossi struggles with these questions while also being kept awake thinking about Vera’s daughters and their aunt being in danger. All the while, the Tucson police are finding no indication that any foul play is involved.

Why wasn’t I totally honest with Vera? Tell her that I didn’t feel up to this? That I wanted to stay home with my new baby? My body wasn’t even back to normal yet. 

Breathing in Leonora’s heavenly scent, I tried to fathom a way to bring her along with me, but to expose my baby to God knows what? All investigative stories led to strange places and long hours, I reminded myself, and in two cases they led to violence.  

No, I told myself, while I picked up Leonora, taking in her animated face, I decided missing her for a few days was the best of all possible worlds. I cast a glance at Vera, who was worried that I wouldn’t actually go to Tucson.  

Besides, there was no way that my husband, the cop, would accept my taking the baby along. Chasing after three missing people almost three thousand miles away was likely to test his policeman’s mind all on its own.  

“You’ll have to stay here and wait for me, right?” I told Leonora as I placed her little bottom on the table, my hands enfolding her whole body. Her tiny little shoulders under the ruffled floral top always knocked me out. “Grandma and the doggies will take care of you, Buddy, Sam, Bella, Max; well, all of them,” I informed my baby. “They’ll keep you company. And Daddy, too. Let’s not forget Daddy.”  

Of course she goes to Tucson to see if she can help. Rossi can’t stop herself—her dear friend needs her, it’s a story that she can’t turn her back on, and there’s that damned curiosity that makes Rossi our Rossi. She also sent press releases to the Arizona paper to get the names of the missing aunt and her nieces in the news.

Jerry, of course, is not left alone. Neighbors and friends show up immediately to help him with the animals and crops and the dear, sweet baby. Hayes has done a wonderful job of building a close, caring community in this series. You’ll find they’re just like the neighbors and friends you depend on when a crisis occurs. 

Rossi chases clues and finds little things the local police didn’t ferret out. As a former reporter, I can tell you that some journalists are the most tenacious people you’ll ever meet. They hang on to something like a pitbull and growl at anybody who tries to stop them. That’s our Rossi. She also keeps calling out the police for not probing further, though she does gain the trust of a local rookie who is willing to do what he can. Between his help and the local newspaper getting the word out, Ross begins to feel a tiny ray of hope.

Focusing on Diana, Linda, and Ginger, my body started to roil with new urgency to get out on the road and look for the Ford. On the way through the lobby, I saw the newspaper.   

“Three Connecticut Women Missing in Tucson.” The story was above the fold on the front page, with the picture of the three of them. It was a gift, and I mentally thanked Maureen Maury as I held the paper. 

The wide and clear picture of Diana, Linda, and Ginger smiling with vacation glee struck my heart. Grabbing several copies, slapping money on the front desk, I rushed to the door. The smiling clerk called after me—the newspapers were complementary.  

Rossi misses her baby and longs to be with her husband, but she can’t give up until these three people who are special to her are found. The only way you’ll find out is if you read Dorothy Hayes’s new book, Keys to Nowhere. When you unlock a mystery like this, it’s difficult to close the door and stop reading.

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Keys to Nowhere by Dorothy H. Hayes!

To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Keys to Nowhere Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 19, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 1:59 p.m. ET January 31, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


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Leigh Neely is managing editor of two regional magazines in Florida. She and her writing partner, Jan Powell, are the authors of Awakening Magic, a new release from The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not working or writing fiction, she’s enjoy time with her family, which includes her husband, three children and their spouses, and four grandchildren.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
2. LStirling
Will she find the missing women? Only readers will know for sure!
Gordon Bingham
3. gordonbingham
As feoow anumal rescurers, my wife and I are both intrigued by this novel...
ZS Seastrunk
6. appalachianannez
Like the descriptions. Especiall of the tenacious reporter. Would enjoy the book.
Michael Carter
18. rubydog
Sounds good!
Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
Thanks ---
Sue Farrell
19. Suekey12
This sounds like a book that once I start reading I won't be able to put down until I finish. Thanks for the contest.
susan beamon
20. susanbeamon
You have my interest. I hope you send me a copy of the book.
Susan Pertierra
22. orchidlady01
I lived in Tucson for a couple of years, and would love to read about the area.
Deborah Dumm
23. deb730
This sounds like it will be a great read.
Judi Purcell
24. Gizkok
Sounds like my kind of story. Looking forward to reading it!
25. johnd
looking forward to a weekend read
Sharon Haas
26. kazul
Sounds like a good read. Thanks for the review and the chance to win a copy!
Ruth F
27. piedmontgirl
I have not heard of this series before. It has caught my interest.
Janice Santillo
29. themommazie
Sounds like a really good book. Would love to read it.
31. Sharon F
I'm not familiar with this series but it sounds great and I'm excited to begin reading it.
Darlene Slocum
32. darandsam
Rossi has quite a difficult decision to make. I would like to know what happens.
Lori Provenzano
33. Mountainesque
Glad I don't have this kind of drama in my life but love reading stories like this!
Barbara Lima
34. barblima
It would be really hard for me to leave my baby!
Beth Talmage
36. wordygirl
I'm always happy to find a strong new series. Thanks for pointing this one out.
Jackie Wisherd
37. JackieW
Since I grew up in Arizona I am always intrested in reading how an author portrays my state. This one should be an interesting read.
Cairine Stade
38. FaerySong
Another good read I'm sure. Thanks for the chance.
Jean Dickinson
39. justjean
Dorothy Hayes' third Carol Rossi mystery "Keys to Nowhere" looks like another Winner!!
40. Trude Vandine
Sounds like just what I like! Would love to win this
Rita Anderson
42. tefenut
I have yet to read any of her work, this seems like a good one to start with.
44. Linda A
Living in AZ it will be good to see if the setting is acurately portrayed.
Mary Ann Woods
45. puttputt1198eve
Thanks for a chance to win this book. It seems that Carol Rossi is presented like a real modern mom with all the dilemmas that come with that role. Should be interesting!
Jane Schwarz
46. Janeschwarz
Something new to me and quite interesting. Thanks for the opportunity to win.
48. jpl123456
A mystery book to read & an Irish Coffee just perfect on a Wintery night.
Sally Schmidt
49. bigcootie
Great review. Another author to add to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway.
Deb Philippon
51. DebP
There's something cacooning about reading a good mystery. Count me in, and wish me luck!
Lorena Keech
54. llkee
The description of the book really grabbed me. I'm sure I'll love it!
Carol Turner
56. cjpturner
I love finding a new author. Thank you!
Jerry Marquardt
64. versatileer
I can't wait to read Keys to Nowhere by Dorothy H. Hayes & Leigh Neely. I think that it looks like a very nice book.
Carl White
66. CarlWhiteEntry
I am just hoping to meet the girl on the cover.
Sandy Klocinski
67. attea2d
Sounds like an interesting read. Would enjoy winning this. Thanks for the chance
johnna smith
I have not had an opportunity to read this author yet. Great review and I now have her on my TBR list. Thank you!
Sheila Cohen
72. sheilaco
The book sounds great. I would love to read it.
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