Leslie Stephan, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (170p) ISBN 978-0-312-02272-3
This low-key but heavy-handed mystery relies heavily on the broadly comic charm of its rural characters to prop up a rather limp story. The efforts of town leaders of tiny Hampford, Mass. to write a pageant celebrating the town's tricentennial are producing only dissent and acrimony. Bestselling author Orianna Soule, an exotic and enigmatic newcomer, volunteers to create the pageant, not realizing that her insistence on historical accuracy will offend or embarrass virtually everyone, since for the citizens of Hampford, ancient history is still very much alive. Worse, Orianna promises to write another bestseller, this one revealing the town's long-hidden secrets. When her body is found at her lavish home, teeth marks on her throat, Orianna's newly purchased Doberman is blamed and the case is considered closed. But earnest, diligent police sergeant David Putnam (last seen in Murder Most Distressing ) is disturbed by several glaring discrepancies and is only too aware that any number of Hampford residents had strong motives to silence Orianna. Septuagerian Bea Lambert discreetly helps Putnam with the case. Although thick with cheerful local atmosphere and peopled with a few engagingly quirky characters, the slow-moving plot makes for a lethargic book. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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