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LOSTLINDENS by David D Nolta

Publisher: Quality Words in Print ISBN 0 9713160 5 8

Reviewed by Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader

Here at last is the much-awaited second adventure of the unlikely-named brother and sister detective act, Antigone and Hiawatha Musing, professors both.

This time, Hiawatha is on his own--well, at much on his own as you can be when you are bear leader for a traveling group of college students in a foreign country.   Hi has been bullied into taking a group of students to England for his college.  “English Life in Literature” sounded harmless enough, but the trip has only progressed as far the the stately home of Lostlindens when not one but two students die violently.

The situation rapidly deteriorates when Inspector Greene arrives on the scene and starts asking everyone where they were when the murders happened.  Of course, none of the potential suspects were where they were supposed to be, and most of them wither have no alibi, or don’t want to say what their alibis are.  Hi himself was in the bed of  his hostess, the slightly long-in-the-tooth Lady Elevenish, a transplanted Taxan who has become more English than the English themselves.  Any resemblance to Lady Astor is probably coincidental--or perhaps not.

In a real bind, Hi calls on his sister Antigone, who hops on the next plane and arrives in time to lend her not inconsiderable intellect to the problem of who killed Ruthie and Kimberley Anne.

A late night visit to the upper attic of the stately home reveals a surprise suspect, and all is soon explained, at least to the satisfaction to Inspector Greene.

“Lostlindens”, like its predecessor “Grave Circle” , is written in a style that brings to mind writers of a previous age.  Even Lady Elevenish’s maiden name, Lucy Lorrimer is a perhaps accidental reprise of a Dorothy Sayers character.  If you are looking for a gentle, non-gory murder mystery, you will enjoy this one immensely.

 

Stewball by Peter Bowen

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 031227730X

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Stewball is a quarter horse racer who becomes attached to Gabriel Du Pre's granddaughter Lourdes.  Gabriel Du Pre is half French and half Metis Indian.  He drives the Montana highways at breakneck speed, sips whiskey from a flask throughout the day, rolls his own smokes, plays a mean fiddle and solves puzzles.

Gabriel's Aunt Pauline pays him a visit to let him know her husband Badger is missing and asks her nephew to find him.  The last time she saw him he left to transport drugs across the Canadian border.  He later called her to tell her he had been picked up by the FBI and had agreed to help them in order to get the charges dropped.  Du Pre calls a friend in the Bureau and learns that Badger was working brush races throughout the west and has been found dead.  Du Pre, Booger Tom and Lourdes acquire Stewball and set out to find the races.  What they don't realize is that they will get involved with counterfeiters and Neo Nazis and be in danger of losing their lives.

Once again Bowen has given the reader a thrilling mystery novel set in the wide open spaces of Montana.  Gabriel Du Pre is one of the most fascinating detectives created by a novelist in contemporary times.  Awaiting breathlessly for the next one. 

 

White Thunder by Aimee and David Thurlo

Publisher: Forge Books ISBN: 0765311747

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader

FBI agent Andy Thomas is working on a social security fraud case.  Marvin Rainwater, a Navajo man who is having a sing (a Navajo healing ceremony) is his main suspect.  Agent Thomas interrupts the sing and as a result becomes a missing person.  Navajo Police Investigator Ellah Clah is assigned to search the reservation and find Thomas.  Her investigation quickly dismisses the fact that anyone connected with the sing is responsible.  Ellah and her staff begin working on the social security fraud and along with the FBI conclude that this is the reason for Thomas's disappearance.  Now all they have to do is find Thomas while he is still alive and identify the people responsible for the fraud. 

Once again the Thurlos have given us an exciting mystery which is set on the Navajo Nation.  As dedicated as Ellah is, she doggedly concentrates on the case.  The action is realistic.  The setting is fascinating and filled with Navajo customs and beliefs.  The plot is masterfully developed.  One more novel, credited to the superb writing style of the Thurlos.

 

Owl’s Well That Ends Well:  A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews

Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books.  St. Martin’s Minotaur  ISBN:  0-312-32938-5

Reviewed by Susan Illis, New Mystery Reader

Meg Langslow and beau Michael have purchased a mansion as-is, which refers not only to the condition of the house and its outbuildings, but also with the “stuff” packed within.  Meg and Michael plan an immense yard sale, augmented by collections from relatives and Michael’s colleagues at Caerphilly College.  Unfortunately, the garage sale has barely begun when local antique dealer Gordon McCoy, referred to as “Gordon-you-thief” by Meg, turns up dead in a trunk someone is trying to buy.

There is no shortage of suspects, but local police immediately focus on Giles Rathbone, an English professor last seen holding the murder weapon, an Owl bookend.  Meg doesn’t believe Giles did it and is determined to find the true killer, for two reasons.  Not only is Giles the most congenial member of Michael’s tenure committee, but the sooner the killer is found, the sooner the garage sale can reopen.

The assortment of relatives and friends that populate Meg’s world often cross the line between zany to just plain weird, and author Donna Andrews’ attempts to keep the fast pace often make the action seem frantic.  Nonetheless, fans of this series will undoubtedly enjoy the latest installment and will be eager to see the new development in Michael and Meg’s relationship.