Claire Watkins has left Minneapolis to become deputy sheriff of peaceful Fort St. Antoine, Wisconsin, so she and Meg, her...

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Claire Watkins has left Minneapolis to become deputy sheriff of peaceful Fort St. Antoine, Wisconsin, so she and Meg, her ten-year-old, can escape memories of her cop husband's unsolved hit-and-run. But when elderly neighbor Landers Anderson bites the dirt among his emerging Tulipa greigii, Claire scents more murder, and soon suspects make up a large portion of the tiny town's population. There's Landers— younger brother Fred, an ineffectual but greedy would-be land baron; Fred's wife Darla, who defiles the corpse with lemon bars; and assorted militant members of the landowners' association, who covet the old man's acreage. Timeouts are provided by Bridget Watkins, Claire's possibly pregnant pharmacist sister; by her husband Chuck, a car nut more interested in monkey wrenches than his wife; by hunky Bruce Jacobs, Claire's late husband's partner, frequently visiting from the Twin Cities'supposedly to work the investigation but actually hoping to claim Claire for his own—and his lanky local competition, sensitive Rich Haggard, who raises pheasants and does good works. Amid all this domestic detail, however, dark shadows are gathering over Meg, who witnessed her father's murder and is a mortal danger to his killer. A change of scene and a new heroine allow Logue (Still Explosion, 1993, etc.) to show off her eye for small-town detail her ear for realistic regionalisms, and her ability to develop more subplots than necessary en route to unmasking an incompletely masked villain. (Mystery Guild featured alternate)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 1999

ISBN: ---

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999