A Vintage Year for Dying

Frank Orenstein, Author
Frank Orenstein, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (229p) ISBN 978-0-312-10442-9
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-373-26196-3
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The sprightly banter between portly PI/retired cop Hugh Morrison and his feisty landlady Harriet Lorimer dominates this engaging third entry (after Off with the Old ) in a series. The suspicious death of universally disliked college professor Al Beasley raises a wake of detractors, including his abused wife, abandoned mistress, embittered campus colleagues and feuding local vintners. As Hugh works on the case, he and Harriet bicker their way through a series of diverse subplots (a particularly outrageous one involves an irascible octogenarian eccentric and her supposedly kidnapped cat). Tales of drug dealing and sexual escapades at the Beasley homestead and a nefarious blackmail scheme are neatly woven into a satisfying conclusion after a cliffhanger climax finds Hugh caught in a flatbed truck soaring over a bluff. Orenstein nicely captures the gossip-mongering atmosphere of his small town in the northeast and the seemingly sound but ultimately self-destructive actions taken by communities, municipal or academic, when they try to protect their own. (Apr.)
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