DEAD LETTER by John R. Riggs

DEAD LETTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Oakalla, Wisconsin, newspaper editor Garth Ryland (One Man's Poison, etc.), who lobbied against the election of the new sheriff, Whitey Huffer, is now at odds with him over the accidental death--or murder?--of deaf trashman Amel Pilkin, who seemed awfully excited about some good news just before he died. But what was it? As Garth goes searching, he collides with lost-love Claire (now married to Whitey); her best friend (and Whitey's mistress) Carolyn; Carolyn's drug-addicted brother Ray; and his own housekeeper, the crotchety, geriatric Ruth. The resolution involves a letter that was pocketed to deny one inheritance and protect another; a spot of unintentional voyeurism; several runs to various dumps; a last-resort suicide, and a promise not to shoot--that's broken. A slow, measured appraisal of rural America and its idiosyncratic citizenry. Riggs's cast of eccentrics are edgy, despairing, and believable--particularly Clark, the sheriffs deputy. Overall, though, the plot is less interesting than the people who frequent it.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1992
Page count: 251pp
Publisher: Barricade/Dembner--dist. by Norton