Joe Gunther (Red Herring, 2010, etc.) returns in the strange case of a burglar not so much.
In Brattleboro, Vt., the privileged classes are experiencing the downside of being upper. That’s because Tag Man has made it unavoidably clear where he sees his targets of opportunity. Tag Man is the slick, savvy operator who slips ghostlike past sophisticated security systems but never seems to steal anything of substance. He’s struck the houses of Brattleboro’s rich and famous half a dozen times now, pilfering esoterically—a wedge of chocolate cake here, a spread of caviar on crackers there—and leaving behind nary a clue. Except, of course, his signature calling cards, sardonic “You’re it” Post-It notes that have made him the media’s favorite antihero and earned him his jokey nickname. But then, suddenly, the game takes a significantly darker turn. Someone, somehow, has promoted Tag Man from a figure of fun to a serious threat. Someone, in fact, contemplates murder if certain hard-eyed individuals can locate Tag Man who, perceiving his difficulties, has quite sensibly gone on the lam. Which means that Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team find themselves in an anomalous position. They have to catch a thief, all right, but in order to protect him.
It’s hard to imagine a more likable thief than Mayor’s Tag Man—or, for that matter, a more companionable lawman than the time-and-trouble-tested Sage of Brattleboro.