Seven Black Stoneshager

Jean Hager, Author Mysterious Press $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-89296-565-6
Several murders and the repeated appearance of seven black stones, evidence of a Cherokee death curse, are featured in the third adventure (after The Redbird's Cry) of Molly Bearpaw, Hager's warm, laid-back Oklahoma investigator. The Cherokee Nation is building a bingo hall on property adjoining old Zebediah Smoke's shack; Zeb, who doesn't like it a bit, prophecies death for all who promote bingo. Pretty soon, Ed Whitekiller, who had better luck with the ladies than with steady employment, dies of car-exhaust inhalation, leaving behind an indifferent wife, a callous mistress and an upset daughter, who asks Molly for help. Molly becomes convinced that, contrary to the sheriff's opinion, Ed was not a suicide. Her hunch gains credibility when a construction worker at the bingo hall dies. Shortly before dying, each man had received seven pebbles. Zeb, however, is too old and feeble to be the killer. In effectively understated prose, Hager sets up the mystery while Molly grapples with her own personal problems: a long-distance relationship; the ghost of her mother; and a job threatened by proposed cuts in the government's grant to the Nation. Molly's mellow perseverance is a welcome respite from the angst-ridden approaches of many modern sleuths. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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