Frank Smith, famed writer of murder mysteries, boards Southwest Airlines heading from Phoenix to Baltimore. His goal is his 50th class reunion at Scott Academy, but behind him he leaves the highly suspicious disappearance of his wife into apparent thin air four years ago and the relentless quest of Officer Ledezma whose impulse is that Smith has killed her and buried the body.
But another mystery awaits Frank at Scott--a mystery 25 years old. A group of young boys walked from the campus into the woods--and disappeared. What could have happened to them? Who better than he to probe the mystery? In doing so, he not only relives his own boyhood when his father was the upright head of Scott's English Department, but that of the classmates of the missing boys, some of whom are back at Scott now for their 25th.
Warm yet suspenseful, rich with a floodtide of emotions and packed with little nuggets of pure gold characterizations, Ramsay explores the role of impulse on many levels.
At the start of Ramsey's superb, perfectly paced stand-alone, Phoenix mystery writer Frank Smith heads for his 50th prep school reunion--at Scott Academy, near Baltimore--anxious about all the attendant grudges, passions, jealousies and nostalgia. More seriously, Smith must contend with the suicide of his brother, Jack, 50 years earlier; the disappearance of four teenage schoolboys during the 1980s; and, back home in Arizona, the relatively recent murder of his wife, Sandy, a crime for which he's now the chief suspect. Ramsey (Artscape and Secrets) treats these traumas in a manner at once intriguing and believable yet somehow breezy and joyous. Seldom in crime fiction does one meet lead characters as likable as Smith and his long-lost friend/new love interest, Rosemary Mitchell. Both are "pushing seventy" but try to solve the various mysteries with the style, audacity and intelligence of a Sun City version of Nick and Nora Charles. Their senior viewpoint with commentary on various generations--"Greatest," Boomers, Xers--makes for a perspective that's at once tart, worldly and compassionate and that nicely balances the genuine evil in the air. (June)
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Poisoned Pen Press
May 31, 2006
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