Thursday, March 3, 2011

Burying the Hatchet by Chris Well

What a delightful mystery! This is the first novel by Chris Well I have read – I will certainly read more. The two main characters are older, so the story is definitely aimed at “seniors.” The plot and snappy dialogue, however, would be found rewarding to any mystery lover.

Several senior citizens have recently died. Officials initially think the deaths are natural until a “psychic” convinces them to re-investigate the cases. Autopsies show the people have been murdered, smothered, and the sheriff is looking for a serial killer.
A local pastor denounces the psychic and when the two are scheduled to meet for an attempt at reconciliation (“bury the hatchet”), the psychic is found murdered. Hundreds of witnesses to the well publicized meeting are convinced the pastor and psychic were the only ones in the room at the time of the murder.
The pastor is arrested even as he declares his innocence. He was alone in the meeting room, he asserts, as he waited for the psychic. Yet moments later, as the pastor is leaving the building, the psychic is discovered in that room, very dead.
Earl Walker has been a bitter old man, wheelchair bound. He has recently been attending the pastor's church, however, and taking the membership class. He is convinced the pastor is innocent and with his friend Gloria, sets out to prove it. It soon becomes evident that the only way they can do that is to uncover the real murder.
Well has created a fine plot – a murder in an apparently “locked” room. Earl and Gloria are prodded by a college age friend to consult classic mystery novels to see how such a crime could be committed.
Well also has some great dialogue. Experiencing Earl contemplating and then trying to propose to Gloria is a humorous aspect of the novel. And the deputy sheriff is a riot.
This was a very rewarding mystery. It is part of “The Hometown Mystery” series from Barbour Publishing and is a sequel to Nursing a Grudge. One does not have to read that one first, however, as Well covers the information from the earlier book nicely.
Barbour Publishing, 256 pages.

This book was provided for review in an egalley form by Barbour Publishing for the purpose of this review.

Publisher information.
Post a Comment