Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dark Waters-Sibylle Barrasso

Dark Waters
Sibylle Barrasso
Five Star, Aug 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 159414639X

They find the corpse of AIDS researcher and Wadsworth professor Mitchell Browne in the Charles River. The Boston police look at his petite widow Evelyn as the prime suspect. She hires attorney David Silverman; he in turns employs private investigator Macy Adams, juts fired by Investigative Enterprise as part of a management take over, to investigate.

Macy learns that Evelyn and Mitchell had dinner at the Hyatt before going home; his corpse was found later that night near the Hyatt although his car was in his driveway. When the autopsy shows he has valium in his blood, the police arrest Evelyn; two years ago when he was cheating on her she drugged him with valium. His mother insists her son was going to divorce Evelyn leaving her with nothing; so she killed him for the $2 million insurance police she paid premiums on. Evelyn’s son Tommy and Mitchell’s estranged brother insist Evelyn is innocent. Macy’s inquiries take an odd spin into BioCorp Genetechnology firm, but though she believes her client is innocent the evidence continues to mount that Evelyn killed her husband who had plenty of enemies in the science business, and family.

This is an entertaining Massachusetts whodunit with plenty of people having motives to kill the victim, but the solid evidence keeps pointing at the indicted Evelyn, who is actually very popular with her in-laws except for Mitchell’s mother. The investigation is superb, but Macy’s asides fail to come across as either hardboiled or amusing; instead they seem off kilter for a professional working the Dirty Water of the Charles.

Harriet Klausner