MASKED DANCERS by Jean Hager

MASKED DANCERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Police Chief Mitch Bushyhead of Buckskin, Oklahoma (The Fire-Carrier, etc.), faces a challenging puzzle in his sleepy bailiwick when, during a rainstorm, his daughter Emily and two friends seek shelter in a cave and discover the body of Wildlife warden Arnett Walsh, shot to death. Nearby, Mitch finds a dead bald eagle (forbidden prey) and a tiny, faded photo of a woman. He questions high school principal Vian Brasfield, a part-Cherokee obsessed with his Indian heritage and rumored to have supplied eagle feathers for the ceremonial dances held regularly on his property outside town. Brasfield’s property abuts land owned by anti-Indian, anti-government fanatic Dane Kennedy, long deserted by his wife. Dane’s son Hunter teaches at the high school; a daughter and son-in-law occupy a trailer on his land. Meantime, Brasfield’s stoic wife Nicole seems unperturbed when her husband vanishes after a Friday night dance at the Indian ground, where he cavorted in mask and costume. His body is found days later, in a pond on Kennedy’s property. Another death, and a long-in-coming identification of the faded photo, enable Mitch to throw a light on the surprising liaison and the long-ago events that will eventually solve the case. Tidily plotted but uncompellingly motivated: another chapter in the low-keyed, slow-moving town of Buckskin, where widower Mitch’s burgeoning romance with local doctor Rhea is one of the livelier elements. Hager fans will love it.

Pub Date: May 12th, 1998
ISBN: 0-89296-641-6
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1998




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