cover image Gravestone: A Marty Hopkins Mystery

Gravestone: A Marty Hopkins Mystery

P. M. Carlson, Pat M. Carlson. Pocket Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-76974-1

Murder in a quiet corner of southern Indiana serves to introduce Carlson's ( Bad Blood ) new sleuth, deputy sheriff Martine ``Marty'' Hopkins. Although Marty discovers a freshly dug grave with Klan marking and a mutilated corpse (the victim's genitals are stuffed in his mouth), the sheriff assigns her to a different ``project''--checking on the latest ravings of retired judge Hal Denton. The judge, plagued by a brain tumor and seizures, claims that his daughter, Phyllis, who disappeared eight years earlier when she was 13, is trying to kill him. His ramblings also mention a biologist named Wolfe whom Marty tracks down. The enigmatic Professor Wolfe, a woman whose interest is cave fauna, not petty matters of law enforcement (``I'm a scientist. I have other concerns.''), puts Marty on the trails of Phyllis and the Klan killers. The oracular Wolfe, in her role as dispenser of crucial clues, is a thoroughly objectionable character. Those who endure her, however, will enjoy the company of intelligent, down-to-earth Marty, as she struggles to balance the demands of her with the needs of her young daughter, her flighty, self-centered husband who dreams of making it big in broadcasting, and the problems of being a ``lady sheriff.'' (June)