An ambitious first mystery centering on the disappearance of postman Ray Bishop, who soon turns up dead in the restroom of the local park barely 300 yards from his house. What did Bishop do? Well, he intimidated his wife (she wanted to leave him), annoyed the neighbors (he erected a fence that cut off their view), and--possibly--blackmailed a family on his postal route (for a war indiscretion that's kept them on the run, switching identities ever since). As Salem, Massachusetts, detective sergeant Gabriel Dunn copes with difficult interviewees (including a hippie carpenter who is Mrs. Bishop's lover, and the mute, retarded daughter of Bishop's neighbor), he unearths a portrait of an unlikable postman and several suspects harassed beyond endurance--but not necessarily by Bishop, whose death is in no way as tragic as the consequences his murderer must now face. Shading toward the needlessly complicated (the identity changes, the old war story), but a worthy first effort--and Dunn's charm could grow on you.