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LADYBUG, LADYBUG by Susanna Hofmann McShea


by Susanna Hofmann McShea

Pub Date: July 20th, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-11017-0
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

 The Hometown Heroes of Raven's Wing, Conn.--wealthy old Mildred Bennett, her doctor lover Trevor Bradford, retired police chief Forrest Haggarty, and nutty nurse-turned-housekeeper Irene Purdy (The Pumpkin-Shell Wife, 1992, etc.)--find themselves upstate in aptly named Coldwater after their neighbor Louise Cannivan receives a phone call telling her that her son Kevin's erotic asphyxia was really murder. The investigation at St. Sebastian's College begins with the links between Kevin's death and those of two friends who had been accused with him of raping retarded Charladene Poultice years ago; but inevitably--as Louise gets uncomfortably close to conservative, sexually insecure Father Francis Duffy, and the Heroes scrutinize an inscription on Kevin's Rolex and a threatening nursery rhyme scrawled on a restroom wall- -the sleuthing focuses on the riddle of why Kevin, who'd been accepted at Yale, should have suddenly changed his mind and buried himself in a backwoods seminary. Not much detection, and the geriatric Heroes are upstaged by Louise and Father Duffy. But the tender, searing dialogue between these two unlikely leads opens up scars and vistas that are well worth the price of admission.