Thursday, December 26, 2013

Three Can Keep a Secret

Three Can Keep a Secret
by Archer Mayor
Minotaur Books, 2013. 321 pgs.  Mystery

"Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead," as the saying goes, but in Archer Mayor's latest Joe Gunther novel, more than two get dead before the killer is identified. No one would have known there was a secret in the first place if Hurricane Irene hadn't stormed (you'll excuse the expression) through Vermont, tearing up roads, bridges, homes, and flooding a state mental facility allowing a patient to walk out through the rising water in the basement. And if that weren't enough, Joe Gunther's Vermont Bureau of Investigation team is also dealing with the discovery of a coffin full of "rocks instead of remains" unearthed from a local cemetery. Carolyn Barber, the missing patient, has apparently alarmed someone by roaming free, as several people involved in her past are suddenly dead under suspicious circumstances. The rock-filled casket means that someone who was thought to be dead is not, which could be good news . . . or not. Joe Gunther is a great guy--plain-spoken but polite, and a fine investigator and comrade. A tad bit of generalized sexual activity is Scotch-taped into the narrative, apparently to satisfy whatever the quota is these days, but for the most part this is a clean read, occasionally language-y, though not from Joe, and a story you won't want to put down once you have begun.


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