Originally published in the Ellery Queen's and Alfred Hitchcock's mystery magazines, these five longish stories--from the...

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BOHANNON'S BOOKS

Originally published in the Ellery Queen's and Alfred Hitchcock's mystery magazines, these five longish stories--from the author of the Dave Brandstetter series--all feature the sleuthing of Hack Bohannon, an ex-sheriff who's now a full-time stable/ ranch-owner and part-time private-eye in central California (with a mentally ill wife in an asylum). In the solid, predictable ""Snipe Hunt,"" Bohannon investigates the murder (via car-tampering) of a bank-exec--whose 40-ish wife (an occasional rider at Bohannon's ranch) is the chief suspect, along with her 20-ish paramour; Bohannon, hired by the young man's loyal ex-girlfriend, finds that the guilt lies elsewhere. ""Witch's Broom"" is less conventional: an empty, newly dug grave is discovered on the grounds of the nearby seminary--so Bohannon's mission is to prevent an imminent murder from happening, with inquiries into a seminarian's secret past and the disappearance of a local lottery-winner. ""Death of an Otter"" has a nicely quirky tilt to it, too--with the murder of an anti-ecology fisherman, soon after his apparent killing of a sea otter. (Or is the crime connected, instead, to the fisherman's estranged wife and their small son?) But the two other entries here are quite humdrum: ""Merely Players,"" about the killing of rich Eugenia Russell--apparently (but not really, of course) by her younger husband, director of the local community theater; and ""Tango Bear,"" which involves an enigmatic runaway girl, scientists, and hokey spies--and previously appeared in Brandstetter & Others (1984). Unremarkable plotting, then, but quietly above-average storytelling nonetheless--thanks to engaging characters (including some sympathetic killers), laconically amusing dialogue, and Hansen's all-pro narration.

Pub Date: March 29, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Foul Play/Countryman

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988