cover image Cause and Effect: An Andrew Broom Mystery

Cause and Effect: An Andrew Broom Mystery

Ralph M. McInerny. Atheneum Books, $0 (210pp) ISBN 978-0-689-11894-4

Set in Wyler, Ind., this is the first in a new series featuring lawyer Andrew Broom, by the author of the Father Dowling mysteries. Agnes Walz and her lover, Jacob Fennel, hire a thug to kill Agnes's husband Wallace. But the killer bungles the job and shoots Jacob instead. Agnes is convicted of conspiracy to murder Wallace. Meanwhile, her lawyer Andrew Broom is the intended victim in a second love triangle plot. His wife Dorothy and doctor Ted Lister scheme to drive him to despair and suicide by means of a faked leukemia diagnosis. McInerney's clutch of murderous characters set trap after trap for one another, but in the end they're hoist by their own petards. McInery's intention here, one supposes, was irony, but the implausibility of the plot rather spoils the effect, producing the real irony of the novel's title. (October)