A Winsome Murder

James DeVita. Univ. of Wisconsin/Terrace, $26.95 (196p) ISBN 978-0-299-30440-9
YA author DeVita (The Silenced) makes his adult debut with an engaging mystery that’s a feast of literary allusions. The murder of beautiful, troubled Deborah Ellison in Winsome, Wis., attracts the attention of writer Jillian McClay, who sells Chicago editor Kevin Lachlan on the idea of a series of magazine stories about the crime. Two elements draw Chicago police detective James Mangan into the case: Ellison was living in Chicago at the time of her death, and Lachlan is mailed a severed hand, which relates to Ellison’s murder. Winsome police chief Wesley Faber is out of his depth, and Mangan spends a lot of time in Winsome as more brutal murders occur, all tied to Ellison and the magazine’s coverage. Mangan’s “verbal quirks,” snatches of prose or poetry that pop into his head and help him solve cases, make him an unusually distinctive sleuth. An appendix lists the sources for the quotations and paraphrases from Mangan’s favorites, particularly Shakespeare and Melville. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/27/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
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