cover image Foursome: A John Cuddy Novel

Foursome: A John Cuddy Novel

Jeremiah F. Healy, J. F. Healy. Pocket Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-79556-6

A top-notch mystery with a drop-dead beginning, Healy's eighth John Cuddy novel, following the Shamus-nominated Shallow Graves , is loaded with red herrings and brightened by small moments of warmth. When three members of a fun-loving foursome are crossbowed to death in a Maine summer house, sole survivor Steve Shea becomes the prime suspect. The evidence against him is considerable: his bloody footprints are found around the house; he's discovered holding the weapon; his dead wife Sandra and his dead friend Hale Vandemeer had been lovers. While Steve, who isn't a very likable sort, may be innocent of the murders, he may be guilty of something else: his job for a weapons manufacturer is extremely secretive and the killings coincide with a big sale. Boston PI Cuddy finds other angles of note: Hale's car-dealer brother has financial woes; Hale and Vivian's loathsome drug-dealing son has a girlfriend with gang ties. Beneath these high-profile motives runs the resentment of Maine locals who have little use for the yuppy foursome's fancy wines and blithe gutting of the landscape for a pretty view. Cuddy's adventures start in a low key--graveside conversations with his own departed wife--and escalate to trading gunshots from speeding cars. Each aspect is handled with finesse. (Aug.)