BUM STEER by Nancy Pickard

BUM STEER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An intriguing question for smart, sensitive Jenny Cain (No Body, etc.), who heads the Port Frederick (Mass.) Civic Foundation: Why should millionaire rancher ""Cat"" Benet, whose life and holdings were based until recently in Texas, leave to the foundation a Kansas ranch worth four million dollars? Jenny is alerted to the legacy by Benet's newly hired lawyer, Dwight Brady, who tells her that Benet is dying and wants to see her before the end. But her arrival at the Kansas City Medical Center is too late--Benet has been murdered--smothered in his hospital bed. His will is festooned with bizarre provisions concerning the ranch--among other things it bars entry to it by any of his several ex-wives or children and provides Quentin Harlan and Carl Everett, who run it, with lifetime employment. In the meantime, Jenny, authorized by the foundation's trustees to investigate further, finds herself on a trail that starts at the ranch and takes her to Dallas, Santa Fe, and back, as she seeks out members of Benet's tangled, mostly estranged family. There are more deaths before the killer's identity is revealed in a vividly drawn shoot-out at the ranch. Other answers, long since anticipated by the reader, come late to our sleuth. A byzantine, not always convincing plot is enhanced by eccentric characters, well-done ranch lore, lively local color, and its energetic heroine. Briskly diverting entertainment.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1990
ISBN: 1451604718
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster