cover image Heirs and Parents

Heirs and Parents

Ralph M. McInerny. Minotaur Books, $23.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-312-20311-5

The creator of Father Dowling returns to the small town of Wyler, Ind., for the sixth in his series of pleasantly low-key tales (Body and Soil, Savings and Loam, etc.) featuring lawyer Andrew Broom. When beautiful blonde college student Helga Bjornsen is discovered with her throat slit in a car in Overlook Cemetery, suspicion falls on faded high school football star and ladies' man Will Foley, the cemetery's groundskeeper. The previous summer, Will couldn't keep his eyes off Helga, whom he'd hired to help tend the grounds. Soon after the murder investigation gets underway, the folk of Wyler gather to mourn wealthy benefactor Stanley Waggoner, who'd been deranged during the last five years of his life. At his funeral a mysterious young woman, clad in black, says she's the old man's widow. Various other parties have claims on the Waggoner estate, represented by the wily Frank McGough, Broom's nemesis. When it appears that Waggoner's heirs are dying in odd circumstances, Broom and his nephew, Gerald Rowan, go into action and eventually root out the truth behind Helga's murder. Though he provides little suspense (seasoned mystery readers won't be misled by a lame red herring), McInerny nevertheless spins an enjoyable yarn of smalltown murder, in which the least likely suspect (who literally comes out of left field) turns out to be the killer. (June)