Touch of the Past

Jon L. Breen, Author Walker & Company $16.95 (196p) ISBN 978-0-8027-5704-3
Bookstore-owner Rachel Hennings is understandably intrigued when she learns that Wilbur DeMarco, a leading crime writer in the '30s, wants to sell his collection of books published in 1937. She finds DeMarco's entire house, in Idyllwild outside L.A., is a shrine to 1937, from appliances to magazines. The author doesn't explain his interest in the year, nor his sudden willingness to sell his memorabilia. When he is killed the day after she has agreed to buy his books, Rachel decides to solve the mysteries of his murder and obsession. A present-day land development scam mixes with movie industry secrets from a half-century ago, providing plenty of red herrings for the amateur detective, seen before in The Gathering Place. The solution involves a pre-WW II left-wing political organization in Hollywood, a murder in Times Square on New Year's Day, 1938, a suicide, embezzlement and a daughter's zealous guarding of her father's good name. Although Breen's dialogue is stiff, pleasant characters, careful plotting and period detail redeem this satisfying mystery. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Hardcover - 978-0-7927-0123-1
Hardcover - 978-0-7451-9711-1
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