Murder on High

Stefanie Matteson, Author
Stefanie Matteson, Author Berkley Publishing Group $18.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-425-14355-1
Hardcover - 299 pages - 978-1-57490-261-7
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Seventyish Charlotte Graham, actress, sometime sleuth and summer resident of Old Town, Maine, helps her friend, state police Lt. Howard Tracey, solve the murder of Iris Richards, shot by an arrow while climbing Mt. Katahdin. The victim was a crusty recovered alcoholic and Thoreau disciple who shared a house and wildflower nursery in Old Town with companion Jeanne Ouellette. Charlotte soon discovers that the dead woman was also Iris O'Connor, an Oscar-winning screenwriter of the '40s and '50s whose work had provided Charlotte with some of her best roles. While Tracey explores Iris's local connections, Charlotte flies to Hollywood, where a look back to the turbulent years of red-baiting and blacklisting uncovers events that changed Iris's life. As Charlotte reviews those years and her torrid affair with a blacklisted cowboy star, light shines on the present-day murder, sending the actress back to Maine to find the solution. Although well-plotted, the pace of the sixth Charlotte Graham mystery, following Murder at the Falls, is burdened by wordy prose, an oversized red herring and more Thoreauvian and mountaineering lore than many mystery readers may appreciate. (Nov.)
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