cover image Snatch Crop

Snatch Crop

Gerald Hammond. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (154pp) ISBN 978-0-312-08891-0

This slight but neatly executed puzzle set in the hunt country of the Scottish Highlands enables Hammond ( In Camera ; Doghouse ) to transfer the amateur sleuthing skills of his hero Keith Calder to Keith's capable and courageous daughter, Deborah, now in her 20s and newly married to Police Inspector Ian Fellowes. A boy-crazy 12-year-old named Delia Thrower disappears, apparently kidnapped in an attempt to prevent her accountant father from trumpeting his knowledge of some insider trading and thereby queering a takeover deal. As Delia is the daughter of Deborah's secretary, Ian can't keep his bride in the dark for long. Deborah springs into action when pluckers at her pheasant factory find a pheasant's crop that yields some distinctive beads, which likely came from Delia's bracelet. Some armed thugs foil Deborah's detective work, but only temporarily. Without siphoning energy from the swift plot, Hammond's lively characters pay tribute to the Scottish countryside and the rugged individualism it fosters. ( Feb.)