Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Robin Hathaway

Pub Date: May 13th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18568-5
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Dr. Andrew Fenimore, a late-30s bachelor, has an unlikely double profession—medical doctor and private eye. He practices both from an old-fashioned office in his Philadelphia home, comforted by cat Sal and assisted by nurse-secretary Mrs. Doyle, a holdover from his late father’s practice. Into this serene milieu comes Hispanic teenager Horatio, caught by a park guard while trying to bury his cat—killed in an automobile accident observed by Andrew. The doctor remembers a tiny Lenape Indian burial ground in a nearby alley, and he and Horatio arrange to meet there that night. Horatio leaves after the burial in the alley—but Andrew, who’s seen something suspicious, gets a bash on the head for his trouble. A call to his old friend Inspector Dad Rafferty of the Philadelphia police quickly uncovers the body of a Lenape named Joanne Field, a.k.a. Sweet Grass, recently reported missing by her fiancÇ Ted Hardwick, son of a prominent Main Line family headed by Dr. Nat Hardwick. Sweet Grass was last seen leaving the emergency room of the local hospital, complaining of feeling ill but refusing further treatment—this after a pre-wedding barbeque hosted by her future in-laws. It takes all Andrew’s knowledge of blood chemistry and herbal properties to pin down Sweet Grass’s killer—but not before, with Horatio’s help, he narrowly escapes his own death. Newcomer Hathaway (winner of St. Martin’s Malice Domestic Award for the —Best First Traditional Mystery of 1997—) maintains an easygoing, unpretentious touch even with her complex plot, Native Indian lore, heavily technical medical background, and nebbishy but nice hero. Lovers of hospital drama, in particular, will welcome a return visit.