Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mausoleum-Justin Scott

Justin Scott
Poisoned Pen, Dec 2007 $24.95
ISBN 9781590584682

Newbury, Connecticut celebrates the tercentennial by wearing historical costumes. The villagers wander around the cemetery looking at stones of deceased residents. Suddenly classical music explodes from the recently constructed pretentious mausoleum “McTomb”.

Everyone rushes over to McTomb to see what is going on. When it is opened, the corpse of developer Brian Grose, who created the gaudy crypt, is found. The Newbury Cemetery Association hires realtor and private investigator Ben Abbott to investigate the murder of Grose. The police believe an Ecuadorian immigrant killed the obnoxious Grose, but Ben thinks otherwise as that seems too simple with so many other people having stronger motives to commit this particular homicide.

As with the insightful MCMANSION, MAUSOLEUM plays out on two levels. First there is the obvious whodunit with Ben Abbott conduction a private investigation that not surprisingly goes contrary to the official police position. Supporting Ben’s sleuthing is the theme of national (and even global) modernization and how it impacts on a small regional town. The story line is fast-paced as Ben conducts his inquiry. However, it is the various reactions by the townsfolk to changes in their quaint village that justifies reading this superb tale.

Harriet Klausner

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