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FRIENDS AND ENEMIES by Susan Oleksiw

FRIENDS AND ENEMIES

By Susan Oleksiw

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7862-3009-6
Publisher: Five Star

The 25th reunion of the Mellingham (Mass.) High School class of ’69 gets off to a flying start when Vic Rabelard propositions Becka Chase, his former lover since married to his business partner Richard (an episode witnessed by her seething son Tony). Mindy, Vic’s wife of a dozen years, is a reunion no-show, apparently having decamped to join a lover; and Vic has beaten up poor Eliot Keogh just because the rental car he’s driven to the reunion has Canadian plates. Next morning, Vic is lying comatose on his dining room floor, and neither police chief Joe Silva nor the hospital staff can figure out what happened to him. Meantime, Eliot is seen going door-to-door looking up people who might have known his dad before he was accused of embezzlement and had to move his family out-of-state, and Mindy’s still missing with nary a clue as to who she was and where she came from before latching onto Vic. In related developments, a short story Richard wrote as a teenager dealing with a death in a paper mill has resurfaced at the reunion auction. What to make of the previous mill experience (and perhaps access to a deadly neurotoxin) Richard, Tony, and Becka’s current husband Hugh all have? Only as the weekend winds down after the reunion dance and barbecue will Silva piece together all the Christie-like clues and put Vic’s assailant behind bars.

Oleksiw, who’s carving out a New England version of Joan Hess’s Maggody, loves marital secrets, infidelities, and bust-ups, and who can blame her? Like its predecessors (Family Album, 1995, etc.), a red-herring heyday for whodunit fans.