SHADOW OF THE SHAMAN by Judith St. George


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A badly broken leg lands Dad in the hospital and leaves 15-year-old vacationing Jay pretty much on his own in this serviceable bit of sleuthing set in the wide open spaces of eastern Oregon. Staying at the rundown Geyser Lodge where Old Constant has been faithfully gushing for 50 years, Jay makes friends with Winnie, a self-reliant 16-year-old local, and together they try to flush out whoever's attempting to shake down Zell Bickett, the crusty owner of the lodge. It seems someone is mighty interested in getting her land which borders a big time ranch and a sacred burial ground of the Sycan Indians. A rattler is placed in Zell's car; a wild killer dog is locked in her ice shed; and each incident is signed with a ""calling card"" of shaman ""power charms"" (bits of animal bone, teeth, and feathers). Of course with evidence like that you can be sure all the neighboring Indians are innocent, although Jay's prime suspect right up to the end is Zell's Sycan workman. And St. George does manage to point the finger at just about every character: there's fluttery, arthritic Mrs. Bundy who shows more than a passing interest in Zell's homestead; shifty-eyed cowboy Vern who was once spurned by Zell; the Hockers, a strange husband and wife team of rock hounds; and ""Mr. A & P,"" two Portland businessmen supposedly on a fishing trip. Unfortunately, St. George herself is somewhat overly fond of fishing expeditions and she tosses in too many red herrings before the climax in which Winnie and Jay find themselves alone in the lodge with the real criminals. . . . Still the pace is brisk, the scenery colorful, and for readers who like their mysteries decidedly on the mild side, this will prove as reliable as Old Constant.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam