by William Andrews
Review by Gayle Surrette
Islandport Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0976323176
Date: 2006 / Show Official Info /
Julie Williamson thought she had landed a dream job as Director of the Ryland historical Society. She was in Maine, only a 2 hour commute from her boyfriend teaching at UMaine, about to get to live in a Victorian mansion rent free, and working in her field. However, within three days she learns that a letter from A. Lincoln to Hannibal Hamlin is missing, that the house won't be available until late fall, and the Assistant Director is a bit miffed because he didn't get the job. The thefts add up to about half a million and the board members seem more interested in keeping a good face to the public than in finding the stolen item. And Julie's still pulling it altogether when a Board member is murdered.
The characters were well drawn and crisp. The small town Maine environment was spot on, including the black flies, summer heat waves, and lack of air conditioning. But best of all the central mystery was engaging and every time I thought I had it figured out there'd be a twist and I had to start lining up the clues again. Even the ending was a surprise and unfortunately if I even attempted to mention a few things it would spoil it for you when you read this book -- and you should read it.
There's some historical information about Maine, but not enough to bog down the plot, even considering that the central character is in charge of a historical society. However, some of the information was a bit new even though I had to take the required Maine History class in high school. I like to learn new bits and pieces of information when I'm reading and if that information comes while I'm being entertained it's just that much better.
This is not a cozy but it's not a thriller either. It's a darn good story that's told in a straight forward narrative with lively characters that I wouldn't mind seeing in a series.