A Dark and Deadly Deception: A Marti MacAlister Mystery

Eleanor Taylor Bland, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (259p) ISBN 978-0-312-32667-8

Unspoken fears, guilty secrets and divisions between rich and poor serve as the unsettling backdrop for Bland's well-crafted 13th Marti MacAlister mystery (after 2004's A Cold and Silent Dying ), set in Lincoln Prairie, Ill. When the body of Savannah Payne-Jones, a 43-year-old black actress and known gambler, washes up on the shore of the Des Plaines River, Marti and her detective partner, Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik, investigate. Marti and Vik are also under pressure to identify the skeleton of a 28-year-old mixed-race male, apparently shot in the chest and sealed in the closet of an old building for more than 50 years. To make matters worse, Marti and Vik must each cope with the illnesses of their respective spouses. Meanwhile, several elderly residents of Lincoln Prairie guard family secrets that could provide important clues to solving the two murders. Bland's deft use of flashbacks not only builds suspense but adds complexity to her characters. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/31/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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