j-Press Publishing, Oct 15 2008, $14.95
In the Twin Cities’ suburb of Manitou island in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Silas and Curtis Nelson are talking about a crime they are about to commit. They are going to the house of George and Sophie Lunzer to rob and kill them. They possess a diagram of the home’s interior where money and jewels are located. A black homeless person picks up the paper they carelessly drop and he ends up being killed by the first set of intruders.
Derek Lunzer walks into his family’s home at five in the morning to find the dead bodies of his parents; his sister Jacqueline is missing but her daughter is safe in her crib. He immediately calls the police. Detective Sergeant Richard Lanslow leads the homicide investigation. There are plenty of suspects including Derek who inherits millions with his parents dead. A business partner of George stands to gain the deceased’s part of the firm and needs to do it before an audit affirms he embezzled funds. Lanslow is a bit frustrated as leads seen to go nowhere and besides he is confident he know who the culprit is, but to prove it seems just out of reach.
As he did with the first White Bear Lake Police Department case (see MASKS OF MURDER), C.C. Canby has written a fascinating regional police procedural filled with various suspects besides the obvious two described above; each has differing motives. The characters are realistic and remain consistent throughout as they behave according to their core motives. Lanslow works overtime to solve the case especially motivated to find the missing sister, who he already had feelings before the deadly home invasion occurred. MANITOU MURDER is a multifaceted complex whodunit filled with red herrings and false leads; in spite of a dedicated desperate good cop looks headed to the cold case file.