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THE FOUR COURTS MURDER Andrew Nugent

Thomas Dunne Books ISBN 0 312 32758 7

Reviewed by Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader

Shaw said that the world's best English could be heard in the drawing rooms of Mayfair or the slums of Dublin.  If you like your murder mysteries presented in language that's an enjoyment all by itself, never mind the plot details and character developments, you will love Andrew Nugent's new book.

The lilt and twists of Irish-English add a whole other dimension to this story of the murder of a judge in his own chambers at the High Court in Dublin.  It can be compared to the difference between barreling down a three lane highway and traveling down a country road with its jigs and jogs and unexpected views of something from a different perspective.  Which is not to say the pace is slow--Inspector Lennon and Detective Molly Powers work hard and work fast to bring the killer to the bar.

The plot is complex and enough red herrings are strewn about to please any devotee of crime fiction.  There are plenty of suspects: the judge made his share of enemies during his career.  However, the police quickly discover that there are motives even more compelling than professional jealousy or disgruntled recipients of Irish justice: on the one hand there's an illegitimate son, and on the other, a pair of crooked antique dealers, who stand to scoop up a fortune if the judge dies.

Stonewalled at every step of the way by the odious chairman of the Bar Council, and assisted by the quirky Inspector Jim Quilligan who knows more about fraud and fine art than most people, Lennon and Powers uncover the murderer, only to discover that there's no such thing as an iron-clad case.   Just as the reader despairs of justice being done, Nemesis turns up from a totally unexpected quarter.

A jolly good read; highly recommended.

 

Out of Range by C. J. Box

Publisher: Putnam Adult ISBN: 0399152911

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is getting ready for hunting season in his district when he's asked to Jackson, Wyoming to fill in for Will Jensen, a once popular and revered warden who inexplicably has committed suicide.  Upon arriving in Jackson, Joe discovers that Will had been acting very oddly before his death, stricken by a strange paranoia, drinking too much, and seemingly incoherent much of the time.  Joe, having always respected the man, feels there is much more to the story then what appears and decides to investigate, soon running afoul of developers, animal rights activists, politicians, and hunters, all who have something to hide, and all of whom might just hold the key to the warden's demise. 

Meanwhile, there's trouble back at home with the family he left behind, and with his sudden attraction to a beautiful woman, it seems that his marriage might be showing some alarming cracks as well.  And when Joe begins to feel oddly himself, displaying much of the same symptoms as Will did before him, it becomes all too clear that whatever stalked Will before his death now has set its sights on Joe.

An interesting mystery surrounded by the beautiful scenery that is Northern Wyoming provides the reader with much to enjoy.  The affluent enclave of Jackson is a hotbed of double dealing with its wealthy and powerful citizens, most of which seem out to win at any cost, creating a tense and vibrant atmosphere to this already suspenseful read.  Also appreciated is the look at the hit a family lifestyle can take in the nomadic existence of a game warden, adding a touch of realism and sensitivity to a rather macho type read.  Recommended, this is one fast paced tale that goes by much too quickly.