LIVING WITNESS by Jane Haddam

LIVING WITNESS

KIRKUS REVIEW

Evolution: fact, opinion or motive for murder?

Annie-Victoria Hadley, the only member of the Snow Hill school board joining former chairman Henry Wackford in a lawsuit denying advocates of Intelligent Design their say, is clobbered with something blunt, like a baseball bat. As she hovers between life and death, it’s assumed that vehement creationists had a go at her. Bypassing the publicity-hungry Pennsylvania State Police, Gary Albright, the Snow Hill Police Chief, calls in ex-FBI authority Gregor Demarkian, the Armenian-American Poirot, who quickly learns that just about everyone in town was within batting range of Annie-Vic’s house when she was coshed. Lining up for Intelligent Design are current board chair Franklin Hale, board member Alice McGuffie, Alice’s bully of a daughter and Chief Albright. The evolutionists include Miss Marbledale, the schoolteacher, and Judy Cornish and her friend Shelley Niederman, newcomers comfortably settled in the posh new development outside Snow Hill until they’re also dispatched, presumably by an unappeased creationist. Straddling the debate is Rev. Nick Frapp, who insists that he’s neutral since his flock’s children attend his academy, not the public school. But the more Gregor learns of the town’s movements and prejudices, the more certain he is that death has come from another direction.

Haddam (Cheating at Solitaire, 2008, etc.), who usually has more on her mind than mere murder, defeats the anti-scientists with fact as well as tact. If another “monkey trial” comes up, the evolutionists should ask her to write their brief.

Pub Date: April 14th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-38086-1
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2009




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