In The Recycled Citizen, the seventh book in Charlotte MacLeod’s Sarah Kelling/ Max Bittersohn series, something fishy is going on at the Senior Citizen’s Recycling Center run by Dolph and Mary Kelling. Having met her husband in the second book, The Withdrawing Room, the former Mary Smith has inspired Dolph to work with her to establish a safe place for senior citizens to relax and earn money by collecting bottles, cans, and paper to recycle. But now they have decided to build a low-rent dormitory-style home for the citizens to have a home of their own and plan an auction of the items that the late Great-Uncle Frederick used to fill out his giant mausoleum of a mansion.
But just as the planning meeting with several family members gets underway, Dolph gets a phone call that Chet Arthur, a member of the SCRC, has been mugged and killed. To make matters worse, when Max brings back the effects of the murdered man, Max notices some powder at the bottom of Chet’s trash bag which he discovers is heroin! Someone has been using the Senior Citizen Recycling Center out of which to sell drugs, leading the team of Max and 8-month-pregnant Sarah, along with her Cousin Brooks and his wife Theonia, Uncle Jem, Cousin Dolph, and Dolph’s wife Mary determined to investigate before the drug dealers can destroy the center.
The Recycled Citizen‘s best point is the fun interaction among the members of the Kelling family. Kellings usually make a point never to marry outside of their family, but all three of these Kelling family members (minus the confirmed bachelor Jem) have married people not typical for a Kelling. Sarah, one of the main characters in the book, is married to the art recovery detective Max Bittersohn, who also happens to be Jewish. Brooks, Sarah’s sixth cousin once removed, who has a special affinity for birdwatching, married the stunning Theonia, the voluptuous daughter of a gypsy and an anthropology student who gave up his professionalism to get involved with his subject. Finally the staid Dolph who has spent his whole life under the thumb of Great-Uncle Frederick helping the eccentric old man to create and then dismantle charities married Mary, who once worked as a department store clerk but turned to getting recycling materials out of the trash in order to supplement her meager social security income. In addition, the book has some fun characters from the SCRC.
The book is narrated by Andi Arndt, who narrates most of the Sarah Kelling series. I enjoyed listening to the book throughout.
The plot has some creative points, both in the mystery itself and in the development of the mystery. I had a great time with this book and rate it four stars!
The Recycled Citizen is available in multiple formats. To order from Amazon, click here. You may also find it in your local library or bookstore.