Stranger in the Kingdom

Howard Frank Mosher, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (421p) ISBN 978-0-385-24400-8
Set in northern Vermont in 1952, Mosher's ( Disappearances ) tale of racism and murder is powerful, viscerally affecting and totally contemporary in its exposure of deep-seated prejudice and intolerance. In this big, old-fashioned novel, the calm of Kingdom County is shattered when a high-spirited French-Canadian runaway is shot to death, and the black Presbyterian minister in whose home she took refuge is charged with killing her to conceal the alleged fact that he made her pregnant. Narrator Jim Kinneson, a high schooler whose tough dad runs the local newspaper, is almost painfully naive about racism, and the very leisurely pace, combined with the gossipy, small-town flavor, dampens the reader's interest for the first half of the book. But Walt Andrews, the wry, articulate minister, an ex-Olympic athlete and widower, is one of the most believable characters in recent memory, and the courtroom trial, which runs for nearly 100 pages, is highly dramatic. To get Andrews off the hook, Jim's inexperienced lawyer-brother must find the real murderer. A related puzzle, which involves a skeleton in the Kinneson family closet, pulls the loose ends together a bit too neatly. Film rights to United Artists; major ad/promo. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-385-31263-9
Paperback - 436 pages - 978-0-618-24010-4
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-547-52451-1
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