Too Many Murders
Simon & Schuster, Dec 1 2009, $26.00
Nineteen years old college student Evan Pugh blackmailed “Motor Mouth” who gave him one hundred thousand dollars. As he reaches for his stash in his college room walk-in closet, he moves into a bear trap, which makes him bleed out. When the police arrive, they are stunned by the scene especially the ingenious trap and shocked as this the twelfth death on April 3, 1967.
Police Captain Carmine Delmonico realizes that the mass murders are related somehow because Holloman, Connecticut doesn’t have that many murders in a year. As he and her cohorts investigate the homicides, they are able to separate some from the sinister genius who bolted down the bear trap. However, the puppet-master used locals to act as his or her perp murdering the victims. To further complicate an already convoluted murder mystery, one of the dead victims Desmond Skeps was a CEO and majority stockholder of Cornucopia where someone was selling secrets to the Russians that had him on FBI surveillance. Delmonico is uninterested in foreign espionage as he has a killer to catch, but each clue returns him and his unit back to Cornucopia.
This police procedural sequel to On, Off affirms how super of a novelist Colleen McCullough is as her mysteries are as good as her historical fictions (see The Thorn Birds). Each murder is solved one at a time in a way that will remind readers of Christie’s And Then There Were None although all occurs in the midst of a crowded college town. Delmonico is a multi-faceted protagonist who is a terrific police detective and a wonderful family man. Readers will enjoy working the cases with him and his sidekicks especially when his wife and daughter are threatened.