Who was it who objected so violently to a homosexual pass thrown by Fr. John Barrow that he embedded a five iron in the priest's head? Twenty years after the 1971 murder, no one in the Upstate New York town of Bessemer much cares--until some newshounds stumble upon the nearly forgotten killing, just as one did in Stout's far more resonant (and Edgar-winning) first mystery, Carolina Skeletons (1988; followed by the vivid but predictable thriller Hell Gate, 1990). Marlee West, 40-ish feminist columnist for the local Gazette, and Jenifer Hurley, the paper's hotshot young investigative reporter, reopen the case when a sleazy colleague is found shot to death--suicide or murder?--while rooting around in files relating to the murder, and to an upcoming reunion of Gazette employees past and present, including two prime suspects: Gazette editor Will Shafer, who's suppressing memory of some terrible guilt, and true-crime copy- editor Grant Siebert, who escaped from Bessemer to Manhattan shortly after the murder. Amidst sensitively drawn but pace-slowing scenes of small- time newspaper life, Stout points at his two suspects with such a heavy hand that the ending is no surprise. Rather, it is an embarrassment, a sorry end to a humdrum affair as the revealed killer reverts to infantilism, whining, ``He was a mean priest. He wanted me to touch him...down there! He did!''-capping Stout's weakest novel to date.