cover image THE COLD BLUE BLOOD: A Berger & Mitry Mystery

THE COLD BLUE BLOOD: A Berger & Mitry Mystery

David Handler, . . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-28003-1

In this first of a new series, Edgar Award winner Handler (The Man Who Loved Women to Death) weaves a complex web of mass murder and romance set on a private island off Connecticut's gold coast. Thirty years after a notorious rape and murder/suicide, blood flows anew on Big Sister isle, where New York film critic Mitch Berger rents a cottage hoping to escape the big city following his wife's death from cancer. His landlady, Dolly Peck Seymour, lives a troubled existence after losing two husbands, the second of whom Mitch discovers buried in her garden. Scandals past and present erupt in this social enclave with all the expected character types: "bluebloods" of the awkward title; effete snobs; a bitter, drunken redneck handyman; a tough local cop; and two gays living in the island's lighthouse. Black police detective Desiree Mitry, who leads the investigation, proves an intriguing heroine, with a fondness for stray cats and a gift for drawing, although her subjects are exclusively grisly crime scenes. By enlisting Berger's help, Mitry gains both an observant friend and a potential lover. An overnight trip Mitch makes to his grimy New York pad gives us a feeling of the hot city in summer, and we're as glad as he is to get back to the island, with its cooling breezes, despite its being under siege from the tabloid press. Handler has created an engaging odd couple, whose further adventures promise to win the same strong following as his Stewart Hoag series. (Oct. 22)