The Perennial Killer: A Gardening Mystery

Ann Ripley, Author Bantam $7.5 (352p) ISBN 978-0-553-57737-2
This time around, Louise Eldridge, Ripley's amateur snoop from four previous mysteries, quickly discovers that land is gold in Colorado and that people will stop at nothing to control it. Almost as soon as she arrives in the state to shoot her syndicated TV show, Gardening with Nature, she finds herself embroiled in a dangerous struggle over a 13,000-acre ranch: environmentalists want it designated as an ""open space""; developers want it for themselves. When Louise and her cameraman discover the murdered body of the ranch's elderly owner, Porter, she begins her own investigation. Her diverse list of suspects includes the sheriff, a good old boy who, along with countless others, has profited handsomely from land deals in the past. The stakes turn deadly when Porter's daughter dies in a suspicious accident, someone shoots at Louise and a sophisticated Austrian millionaire attempts to run her off a treacherous mountain road. Ripley's plots have become increasingly complicated with each book--this one has as many side issues as bindweed has seeds--and her one-dimensional heroine may fail to engage the reader. Nonetheless, the author projects a strong sense of place and is firmly grounded in her issues: her trademark essays, interspersed as tension-breakers throughout the book, reveal her understanding of Western horticulture. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Hardcover - 978-0-553-10694-7
Open Ebook - 193 pages - 978-0-307-56992-9
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