When Newbury Connecticuts three hundred year old village cemetery is invaded by a gaudy, half-million dollar mausoleum, Ben Abbott is not happy.
Newcomer Brian Grosess tall, wide, mirror-polished eruption of eternal ego sticks out in the peaceful burying ground like a McMansion in an apple orchard. Bens fellow drinkers at the bar have nicknamed the monstrosity, McTomb. But no one expected to find Brians body locked in his mausoleum, fifty years ahead of schedule.
Then Homeland Security Immigration Criminal Enforcement agents descend on Newbury hunting for Charlie Cubrero, an illegal immigrant farm handand supposed gang leaderwho bought a gun after he was stiffed for fifty bucks by Brian Grose.
Ben Abbott doesnt buy it. Half the town was in the graveyard celebrating Newburys tercentennial when Brian was shot and most of them were mad at him. Besides, Ben admires the hard working Charlie. And he fears that the news that the illegal worked for the Village Cemetery Association will destroy the venerable society already torn asunder by suing and counter-suing anti-mausoleum traditionalists and pro-mausoleum insurgents.
The well-crafted fifth Ben Abbott whodunit (after 2006's McMansion) opens on the beautiful summer's day that graces the tercentennial celebration in Newbury, Conn. As members of the town don period costumes to portray people of the past while village residents tour the serene cemetery, recorded classical music suddenly blasts from the large, ostentatious mausoleum nicknamed the McTomb, recently erected by real estate developer Brian Grose. When the tomb is opened, its murdered owner is found inside. The Newbury Cemetery Association wastes no time in bringing in Ben Abbott, real estate agent, private detective and ex-con, to solve the case. When an Ecuadorian immigrant unexpectedly becomes the prime suspect, Ben seeks to exonerate him while investigating the many other people who despised Grose and wanted him dead. The intriguing mystery features a cast of fascinating characters and an honest look at the effects of modern ideas and design on a steadfast New England town. (Dec.)
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Poisoned Pen Press
December 14, 2007
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