Frederick Ramsay, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (245p) ISBN 978-1-59058-283-1

At the start of Ramsey's superb, perfectly paced stand-alone, Phoenix mystery writer Frank Smith heads for his 50th prep school reunion—at Scott Academy, near Baltimore—anxious about all the attendant grudges, passions, jealousies and nostalgia. More seriously, Smith must contend with the suicide of his brother, Jack, 50 years earlier; the disappearance of four teenage schoolboys during the 1980s; and, back home in Arizona, the relatively recent murder of his wife, Sandy, a crime for which he's now the chief suspect. Ramsey (Artscape and Secrets ) treats these traumas in a manner at once intriguing and believable yet somehow breezy and joyous. Seldom in crime fiction does one meet lead characters as likable as Smith and his long-lost friend/new love interest, Rosemary Mitchell. Both are "pushing seventy" but try to solve the various mysteries with the style, audacity and intelligence of a Sun City version of Nick and Nora Charles. Their senior viewpoint with commentary on various generations—"Greatest," Boomers, Xers—makes for a perspective that's at once tart, worldly and compassionate and that nicely balances the genuine evil in the air. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/17/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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