Black Diamond

Susan Holtzer, Author Thomas Dunne Books $21.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-17174-2
This relaxed, evenly paced mystery deftly entwines a century-old tale with a modern murder, and firmly unites three disparate sleuths in a common goal. Clare Swann, a drab, hostile and solitary student at the University of Michigan, has just discovered she has inherited some cash and personal papers from her great-aunt Julia, a Northern Michigan pioneer. Returning to her dorm room after photocopying the papers, Clare finds her room ransacked and a man's body, his throat slashed, on the floor. She is completely done in when she realizes that the corpse is that of her father, a reclusive and disturbed former professor whom she had not seen in 10 years. Enter student friend Zoe Kaplan, who calls her friend Anneke Haagan, a clear-thinking computer expert, and the local police, in the person of Anneke's fiance, Lt. Karl Genesko. Thus Zoe, Anneke and Karl join up again (after Bleeding Maize and Blue, 1996) to find a killer. Hints of a hidden fortune lead them to a northern Michigan vacation home where the entire Swann family is revealed in full dysfunction. An interwoven tale of Swann ancestry and some academic skullduggery enliven the plot. Shining with secondary characters who are excellent in their small roles, this satisfying story includes a surprising yet plausible finale. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
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