This Enemy Town

Marcia Talley, Author . Avon $6.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-058739-0

Agatha– and Anthony Award–winner Talley's predictable fifth Hannah Ives cozy fails to take full advantage of its intriguing premise: the victim is discovered on the set of a navy production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd . Ives, a cancer survivor, quickly becomes the chief suspect, since her fingerprints are found on the hammer used to fatally bludgeon Jennifer Goodall, who was the Naval Academy's sexual assault victim intervention officer. Years before, Goodall had earned Ives's enmity by falsely accusing the amateur sleuth's husband of sexual harassment. Stunned to find herself in cuffs, Ives loses no opportunity, once bail is posted, to seek the truth. Despite references to the Clinton "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward homosexuals and to procurement scandals resulting from the ongoing war in Iraq, the author doesn't make her setting convincing; even the scene describing a visit to the Pentagon memorial for the victims of 9/11 will leave many readers unmoved. Agent, James C. Vines. (Sept.)