cover image The Miser of Cherry Hill: A Dr. Clyde Deacon Mystery

The Miser of Cherry Hill: A Dr. Clyde Deacon Mystery

Scott Mackay. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8038-3

Set in 1902 in Fairfield, N.Y., Mackay's second Dr. Clyde Deacon mystery (after 2010's The Angel of the Glade) successfully recreates a small town of the period complete with the proper window curtains, fashionable ladies' hats, and fascinating primitive forensics. At no time in history, however, is it likely that courting was as awkward and obtuse as is the doctor's of the improbably perfect Olive Wade. Meanwhile, someone shoots rich businessman Ephraim Purcell in an alley behind his Grand Hotel. Purcell has wronged enough people to make the list of murder suspects long, including Purcell's ex-friend and hat store owner, Isaac Jensen; his stepdaughter, Marigold Reynolds, from whom Purcell stole money; and Billy Fray, the troubled son of the town blacksmith, who recently killed himself. Deacon's suspicions bounce around among these three and several other candidates and provide a fair amount of energy for the plot, though it eventually bogs down. (Sept.)