cover image Body and Soil: An Andrew Broom Mystery

Body and Soil: An Andrew Broom Mystery

Ralph M. McInerny. Atheneum Books, $17.95 (245pp) ISBN 978-0-689-12036-7

The second story featuring Midwestern lawyer Andrew Broom, introduced in Cause and Effect , confirms McInerny's mastery of the light mystery, a skill displayed earlier in his Father Dowling series, now featured on TV. Here the reader learns early on that Leo Barany has killed his parents and others, planting the bodies on the family farm. He intends his next victim to be Pauline Stanfield, (one of several people Barany resents for having insulted him) but, interrupted before he can complete his mission, he kills her husband Hal, instead. Since the Stanfields planned to divorce, Pauline is the chief suspect when Hal's corpse is found. Hal was being represented by Broom's nephew and partner; Broom, retained by Pauline, realizes his client has a very weak alibi. Another murder and several foiled attempts accrue before the country lawyer brings the case to its harrowing, satisfying close. The comic drama is enlivened by a supporting cast of characters quirky enough to draw interest well beyond Andrew Broom's quiet Indiana home town. (May)