A MATTER OF ROSES by David Manuel


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Years and years ago—and newcomer Manuel’s leaden exposition doesn—t spare a single year—Andrew Doane loved Laurel Winslow, and MacArthur Curtis loved Sarah Hillman. But Mac, stung when Sarah didn—t fall into his grasping hand like a piece of ripe fruit, took a lesser wife and made a fortune in real estate, while Andy, who was called to a higher love, lives as Brother Bartholomew in Faith Abbey. Now that Maurice Tomlinson, the rose-growing husband Sarah’s been nursing ever since he was injured in Vietnam, has been left near death by bees that shouldn—t have been anywhere near his garden, it seems clear that Mac, her #1 suspect, hasn—t forgotten or forgiven a thing. But it’s Mac, not Maurice, who’s found dead, laid open with a knife thrust just like the one he—d demonstrated to a gathering of Cape Cod neighbors shortly before. Who you gonna call? Brother Bartholomew, of course, who—not busy enough questioning his vocation in light of his newly rekindled intimacy with Laurel—joins Eastport Police Chief Dan Burke in tracking down Mac’s killer. The suspects and motives are as thick as clam chowder, but they have to share space with the impending bankruptcy of Curtis investments; the disappearance of Mac’s partner Cal, presumably lost at sea; a competition to grow the Eastport Rose; the spiritual and familial crises of the leading characters; and an extraordinarily unconvincing climactic rivalry between Brother Bartholomew and the killer. An overstuffed debut with something for everyone, and thus guaranteed to please no one.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-55725-234-3
Page count: 330pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999