Untoward things are happening at Tucker Peak, the posh ski resort upstate—things that might be troublesome enough to warrant the attention of Joe Gunther’s freshly minted Vermont Bureau of Investigation. When the VBI is called in by the local cops who’ve been spread thin coping with pesky environmental activists, however, Gunther’s elite squad can’t help sniffing a bit at the assignment. Major crimes, not a string of small-potatoes robberies, are the VBI’s reason for being. But the problem escalates as soon as anybody could wish, and before you can say maple syrup, the VBI has a sticky situation on its hands involving a grisly murder, a complex embezzlement scheme, some nasty acts of environmental terrorism, even a possible connection to the dreaded mob. Before all these complications can be untangled, Gunther manages to get himself beaned by a robber and bitten by a rottweiler; one of his key operatives is almost raped; and eventually the local cops who requested the VBI’s help begin to wonder whether that was their best move. Gunther sticks to business, however, and little by little, the clues mount up and the opposition breaks down. At length the villains have either confessed or been shot, justice has been served, and Gunther’s VBI has taken another firm step toward the credibility it craves.
An okay police procedural, but Mayor’s focus on the infant VBI gives disappointingly short shrift to the sharp, telling small-town portraits that have generally marked this series as special (Occam’s Razor, 1999, etc.).