Trouble in the Town Hall

Jeanne M. Dams, Author Walker & Company $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8027-3285-9
The ancient English cathedral town of Sherebury is a picturesque one, with its stately University, its Jacobean housing and its solid citizens, among them elderly American transplant Dorothy Martin, who was introduced in the Agatha Award-winning The Body in the Transept (1995). In this methodical and well-mannered mystery, Dorothy is determined to be all things at once: gardener, home-restorer and sleuth. Present at town hall when the body of a young vagrant is discovered in a broom closet of the venerable building, Dorothy assumes (somewhat illogically) that the murder is related to the fierce battle raging over the structure: Should it be restored to its former magnificence or turned into a shopping mall? She relies on the village's greatest asset--gossip--for her clues. Since her romantic interest, the aristocratic and clever chief constable, Alan Nesbitt, is busy with an impending royal visit, she puts on her best hat, some wildly impractical shoes, and marches up High Street for a few audacious chats with the town's leading citizens, among them an enormously wealthy builder and his browbeaten wife, a cagey shopkeeper and a fiery preservationist. Another murder confounds her and stuns the town. Despite a few lackluster and stereotypical characters, the very proper and relentlessly snoopy heroine continues to engage readers. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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