cover image The Gift Horse Murders: A Winston Wyc Mystery

The Gift Horse Murders: A Winston Wyc Mystery

Brian Johnston, Author, B. Johnston, Author Pinnacle Books $3.99 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55817-652-2

The first chapter of Johnston's skillfully executed mystery evokes terror: a virago named Minerva Trotteville gets bludgeoned and thrown into a van where she is trampled under the hooves of a stampeding horse. Enter the scholarly sleuth in this latest of Johnston's (The Dutch Treat Murders) series featuring Winston Wye, architectural historian and slightly wimpy gent. A spry septuagenarian, Dr. Janice Wetmore, lures Winston from Manhattan back to the Hudson Valley town of Wistfield (where an old flame lives) ostensibly to act as a consultant to a restoration project-a house owned by the late Minerva. Wyc stumbles across another murder-of the president of the society handling the restoration-and indulges in unsafe sex with yoga instructor Cassandra Trotteville, a sister of the deceased who comes up with lines like, I find candlelight softens the yoga experience. The driving energy in the tale comes from the indomitable Dr. Wetmore who, at novel's end, outwits the mounted killer coming after her with a olo mallet and breaks a few stereoes. (Oct.)