In an intriguing departure from her Doctor Fenimore novels (The Doctor Digs a Grave, etc.), Hathaway launches a new series with an unusual heroine. Reeling from the death of a young patient, Dr. Jo Banks abandons her job in Manhattan and hits the road. She ends up at a New Jersey motel, where she treats a woman who becomes suddenly ill. Impressed, the motel owner offers Jo a deal. None of the motel operators in the area can afford to keep a doctor on staff full-time; she can live and keep an office at his motel in return for serving their needs. At first reluctant, Jo soon warms to the area and finds a number of puzzles to pique her interest. Who was the dead man found disguised as a scarecrow in a local farmer's field? And what is the story behind an odd girl who wants to run away to the big city? Tooling about on a motorcycle, Jo encounters more strange events and even murder, and her penchant for nosiness leads her into danger that could prove life-threatening. As the young physician integrates herself into the community, Hathaway convincingly portrays small-town and rural New Jersey life in an appealing, sometimes poignant story with low-key suspense and winning characters. Agent, Laura Langlie. (Apr. 7)
FYI: The Doctor Digs a Grave won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.