She’s a lean, mean Vietnam vet who carries her Sig Sauer and her tough-girl attitude to work every day at the Connecticut State Police Major Crimes Squad. He’s a pudgy, dorky film critic who can barely find his way from his West Village apartment to the sleepy village of Dorset, where his editor, hoping that its rural charm will stir him from the depression he’s fallen into following his wife’s death, sends him to write a travel piece on how Connecticut’s old-money families live in tranquil seclusion. There’s no reason Desiree Mitry and Mitch Berger should ever meet. But murder just isn’t reasonable. So when Mitch digs into the vegetable garden behind the carriage house on Big Sister Island he’s rented from Dolly Peck Seymour, the down-on-her-luck heiress who shares the tiny islet with her brother Redmond Peck and his wife Bitsy, her ex-husband Bud Havenhurst and his trophy wife Mandy, and her son Evan and his companion Jamie Devers, he finds instead of tree roots the very dead leg of Dolly’s current husband Niles, who’d reportedly run off with another woman. Now Mitch learns that tiny towns can hide big secrets and bigger danger.
Can a tough African-American cop with a soft spot for feral cats find happiness with a nice Jewish boy who says he does his best work in the dark? Here’s hoping that Handler, creator of the Stewart Hoag series (The Man Who Loved Women to Death, 1997, etc.), explores this question in more first-rate puzzlers.