The Twenty-Acre Plot

Stephen F. Wilcox, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-312-05846-3
Wilcox introduces an ingratiating new sleuth here, narrator-hero Elias Hackshaw, editor of a small-town weekly in western New York, who has a couple of hobbies (cards and drinking) and two avocations (scavenging 19th-century buildings and pursuing women). He's best at the avocations. When an 80-year-old farmer is killed in a fall Hack's news nose twitches: How did a farmer with a plastic hip joint get into the hayloft? Was he planning to change his will? Is a slimy local developer after the farm? As he works his way through a fast-moving tale involving real estate, a local Native American family, old scandal, embezzlement and murder, Hackshaw is nearly killed and--to his relief--is finally caught by a jealous husband. While Hackshaw may remind readers of the antiquarian hero of the English Lovejoy series, he charms with his own insouciant American style: ``If friends won't give you the benefit of doubt, they may as well be relatives.'' Hackshaw is good company and informative about upstate New York. Wilcox also wrote the T.S.W. Sheridan mysteries ( The St. Lawrence Run ). (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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