Blind Spring Rambler

John Douglas, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (215p) ISBN 978-0-312-02167-2
In Douglas's second novel (after Shawnee Alley Fire ), such historical events as President Warren G. Harding's Teapot Dome Scandal provide a richly detailed background. When young William Edmonson, bored by lectures, aborts his college career and joins a New York detective agency, he discovers the whole world is his classroom and not all its lessons are kind ones. It's 1923, there are just ``Forty-eight states in the old U.S. of A.,'' and in one of them, West Virginia, an Italian coal miner has been sentenced to death for a five-year-old murder. However, as a deputy-sheriff puts it, ``There's folks around that sides with the dago.'' Frank Grant, a smoker, a cusser, a drinker and a seasoned detective invites Edmonson onto the case with the words, ``Pack a trunk's worth.'' The veteran shares little more information as they ride the rails to Blind Spring, W. Va., a mining town where union men and strikebusters are embroiled in tense pre-strike antagonisms. After Grant turns up dead, Edmonson must come of age quickly and solve two murders or stumble into a similar fate. Douglas's absorbing, well-paced story satisfies with a strong sense of place, well-drawn characters, and some surprises at the finish. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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