Death at an Early Age
Five Star, Dec 8 2010, $25.95
In the swamps off Bartram’s Hammock, Hierba Alto tribesman Toke Wylie escorts Florida Fish and Game Warden Harry Brock to a corpse in which the victim’s red high-heeled shoe sticks up incongruously as the nearest dance floor Stickpen was twenty five miles away. Harry immediately concludes this woman did not just stroll or dance to this spot as he could barely walk with his sneakers and a “guide”. Toke prefers not to wait around for the law so he leaves while Harry waits for the police to arrive.
The victim is wealthy widow Lilly Rhinelander. The cops seek who financially benefits from her death leads to her unrecognized son New York African-American attorney Adrian Cooper who also appears to be the last person to have seen his mother alive. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Fortunato builds a strong case against Cooper while Brock believes his former lover is going down the wrong swamp. Encouraged by Rector Rowena Farnham, Brock investigates leading back to Toke and the tribe and the late Lilly’s “legitimized” three offspring (John Kringle, Rita Krnosky and Michael Rhinelander).
The super latest Harry Brock mystery (see Death’s Other Kingdom and Two in the Churchyard for when the hero was a private investigator) has him ironically going full circle. The hero is a game warden like he was years ago in Maine, and Sonadora Asturias and Jennifer Fortunate are in his life for now as they once were. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as bullets fly while Harry works the case one swampy clue at a time.