cover image Sneeze on Sunday

Sneeze on Sunday

Andre Norton. Tor Books, $18.95 (249pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85222-1

An old-fashioned and charming mystery set in New England during the early 1950s is the joint production of science fiction/fantasy veteran Norton (the Witch World series) and mystery editor Hogarth. Librarian Fredericka Wing takes a summer job minding a bookstore in South Sutton, Mass., a college town founded by a family whose reduced financial circumstances are now being ameliorated by the nationally known herb farm run by matriarch Margaret Sutton and her niece, Phillippine, a chemist rescued from a German concentration camp. Returning from a church bazaar, Fredericka finds the body of Catherine Clay, nee Sutton, in the bookstore's hammock. James Brewster, the family lawyer and Catherine's potential fiance, tries to hush up the police investigation, claiming accidental death, but an autopsy finds poison. As mystery buff Fredericka investigates with the fascinating Peter Mohun, teacher at the college and former military intelligence agent, she must overcome the hostility of the townspeople and the machinations of a teenager who may know more than is good for her. This leisurely period piece will attract readers seeking an alternative to breakneck, often brutal suspense fiction. (Jan.)