cover image Stonedust


Justin Scott. Viking Books, $19.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85213-0

On target again, Edgar-nominee Scott (Many Happy Returns; HardScape) delivers another literate, witty and absorbing mystery starring Ben Abbott, the former Wall Street high-roller who, having done time for financial misdealing, now sells real estate in his hometown of Newbury, Conn. Here Abbott calls on his self-described ``half-assed'' investigative skills to prove that a childhood friend did not die from a ``hotload,'' a heroin overdose. When the coroner reports that heroin did indeed cause the death of Reg Hopkins, whose body was discovered on a covered bridge, Abbott focuses more on the why than the how of the man's demise. A lot of their old friends aren't talking. Among these are the couple who had a Jacuzzi party for a select group of Newbury's nouveaux riches the night Hopkins died. Hopkins was not invited-but was he the mystery party crasher? Setting this simmering tale of money, sex and drugs in picturesque Newbury, with its colonial homes, fine lawns and blooming azaleas, Scott creates a mixture guaranteed to hook new readers and bring old ones back for more. (Feb.)