cover image Twilight


Nancy Pickard, Pickard, Robert F. Mirvish. Atria Books, $22 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-671-78271-9

As in her previous nine adventures (most recently, Confession), foundation director Jenny Cain combines can-do toughness and a tender heart. She needs both when trouble stalks a fall festival she's staging in her hometown of Port Frederick, Mass. An insurance company stalls on providing coverage; environmental activists accuse Jenny of trying to close their beloved nature trail, where three ``accidental'' deaths have occurred; and Christian fundamentalists picket the festival's Halloween theme. One protester dies when apparent arson destroys a local landmark. Villains abound, including a nasty drunk who assaults Jenny, a wealthy civic leader and a local reporter/environmental zealot. Jenny needs help from her police lieutenant husband, Geof, a troubled teenager and a delivery woman who reads rune stones. Readers have only their trust in Pickard and a prologue (in which an automobile accident occurs) as assurances that the disparate plot lines will converge--which they do, revealing surprising connections. Jenny's telling observations on love and marriage, family and friendships and small-town politics add texture to this well-wrought puzzle. (Oct.)