A Small and Incidental Murder

John Walter Putre, Author Scribner Book Company $0 (245p) ISBN 978-0-684-19139-3
This murky and lethargic first novel, set in the Chesapeake Bay area, pits Doll, a novice sleuth, against a group of tightly knit and hostile islanders, each with something to hide. Doll has been asked by an old acquaintance to investigate the explosion that kiled LeRoy Carrow, a long-established island fisherman. LeRoy had infuriated many of his neighbors by opposing the sale of their increasingly valuable property to outside real estate speculators. Was LeRoy killed by members of an aggressive land syndicate represented by seductive and enigmatic Rachael Teal? Was the explosion on LeRoy's boat planned by hard-drinking and embittered realtor Richard Vaughn? Or did one of the surly and vengeful fishermen simply want the troublesome LeRoy out of the way? Doll thus begins his circuitous investigation--a casual and easygoing probe that annoys the islanders, beguiles Rachael and brings him provocatively close to LeRoy's widow. Burdened with colorless characters and languid digressions, the book rouses no more than passing interest. Worse, the murder itself is solved in an abrupt and artificial manner. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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