Monday, August 28, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Strawberry Moon by Robert Underhill

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Strawberry Moon by Robert Underhill. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Strawberry Moon by Robert Underhill

Strawberry Moon by Robert Underhill
A Hoss Davis Mystery
Arbutus Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9766104-4-2 (0976610442)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9766104-4-1 (9780976610441)
Publication Date: May 2006
List Price: $16.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Dr. Barbara Wilson fails to pick up her daughter from school and then does not show up for rounds at the hospital, the Leelanau County sheriff’s department initially treats her disappearance as a carjacking. But when her strangled and scalped body is discovered near her van in the woods outside town, Sheriff Hoss Davis suspects Harry Swifthawk, a member of the Band of Ottawa and Chippewa, who has caused Hoss many problems in the past and has gone into hiding. Davis must walk a fine line in dealing with the tribal authorities, the group of suspects who begin to crop up, and the FBI, which holds jurisdiction.

Review: Strawberry Moon, what the northwestern Michigan Chippewa call the first full moon of summer, is also the title of Robert Underhill's debut mystery, an intricately plotted novel of suspense.

Following the disappearance of a local doctor, Sheriff Hoss Davis is presented with three viable suspects, each of whom seems to have means, motive, and opportunity: her husband, her psychiatrist, and a member of the Chippewa tribe. Sensing a weakness in the Sheriff's investigation, a local land developer sees the chance to do some political damage as well, adding to Davis' troubles and possible list of guilty parties. Underhill credibly interleaves all these storylines—just as one suspect seems to be the obvious culprit, the perspective changes and another takes his place.

It's all very well done up to a point. Several key plot elements remain unresolved at the end of the book, some of which are rather crucial to the resolution of the story. And the oddly ambiguous epilogue raises, probably intentionally, more still more questions.

The final chapters aside, Strawberry Moon is a captivating mystery that deserves a wider audience.

Special thanks to Arbutus Press for providing an ARC of Strawberry Moon for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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