A mysterious visitor upsets the life of a lonely western mom in this fiction debut from McCullough Lawson (Posterity, 2004), daughter of historian David McCullough.
Kate Colter has always had a morbid interest in cases of murder and intrigue—perhaps owing to her relatively ho-hum life. She married young, moved to Wyoming, had a daughter and now hires herself out for small chores when she’s not tending to familial duties. Yawn. All indications point toward Kate’s having a doozie of a midlife crisis. Kate’s drama takes shape when a handsome gentleman, Tom Baxter, moves to town and begins to court Kate’s mother-in-law. Tom and Kate strike up a friendship, but there’s something about Tom that bothers Kate. She doesn’t believe the stories he conjures up about his past. When Kate’s often-absent husband, George, takes off for another paleontological dig, Kate starts to investigate Tom. Her research turns up a number of inconsistencies, and Kate suspects that Tom may be a notorious criminal. Oddly, Kate keeps the information to herself and doggedly goes about her daily chores and mothering duties. Although her suspicions gnaw at her, Kate waits to take action until she can consult George. Once George returns from his dig, the truth is exposed with tragic results. McCullough breathes life into this fictitious Wyoming town, and despite stilted dialogue, the pacing is adequate, as is the author’s handling of the sweeping western landscape.
A capably penned mystery.