Death in the Off-Season: A Merry Folger Mystery

Francine Mathews, Author William Morrow & Company $23 (318p) ISBN 978-0-688-13443-3
Spunky but inexperienced, third-generation Nantucket cop Meredith Folger investigates murder in this spare, atmospheric debut. Wealthy farmer Peter Mason is shocked to learn of his estranged brother's return to the island. Rusty, who'd fled to Brazil after a fight with their father and an insider trading scandal, shows up infected with the HIV virus, apparently addicted to cocaine-and then dead, hit by a car and left on Mason property face-down in shallow water to drown. Peter is the suspect of choice for Merry, who has to battle her father, the police chief, for the assignment. Mathews is especially adept at evoking the somber isolation of the islanders as the tourist season draws to a close. Merry and Peter seem two love-crossed souls (Merry's former lover now works as Peter's assistant), but Mathews doesn't clarify their relationship. Other suspects include a local teenager, a free-spirited couple and a lonely schoolteacher, but all are indifferently depicted in a story that unfolds haphazardly and sports a flurry of new revelations near the end. Of the place, people and plot, only the first comes fully alive here. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-553-58272-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-72334-8
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-61695-726-1
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