Monday, October 4, 2010

Murder at Spouters Point-Leslie Wheeler

Murder at Spouters Point
Leslie Wheeler
Five Star, Nov 5 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594148866

Native American Nate Barnes and his girlfriend Miranda Lewis come to coastal Rhode Island primarily to visit his friend Jimmy Swift, a member of the Dottaguck tribe who own the Clambanks Casino where he works maintenance. They plan to attend a pow-wow though Miranda feels out of place and a bit guilty when everyone asks Nate where his son Sammy is. She conceals from her lover that she is elated to spend some of what she fears would have been a lost weekend with her friend Erin Meloy at the Spouters Point Maritime Museum. Erin introduces her to her boyfriend George Kavanagh who one of her brothers objects to as being too old for his sister.

When someone kills George, the local cop Curtin assumes an Indian did it as he believes a white would never commit such a horrific murder. Thus he arrests Jimmy claiming circumstantial evidence. Fearing he will receive no justice from the white system, Jimmy flees into the swamps. Although filled with doubts that Jimmy is innocent in spite of Nate’s belief and that Erin’s volatile sibling could be the killer, Miranda investigates. This angers her boyfriend, his cronies, her friend and the cop while a psychopath watches her.

This is an entertaining Rhode Island amateur sleuth mystery that focuses on the modern day divide between whites and Native Americans while enhancing the story line with historical references. The cast is solid as the two cultures converge at Clambanks. Although the rationale for Miranda to investigate is weak, readers will enjoy this interesting whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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