Desert Winter Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Desert Winter

St. Martin's, Feb 2003, 23.95, 288 pp.
ISBN 03123051x

After spending over three decades on Broadway directing award winning plays Claire Gray at the age of fifty-four changes careers when she is recruited by computer mogul billionaire Glenn Yeats to chair the theatre department at the Desert Arts College in Palm Springs. After three months of working there she is only a week away from directing her first play “Laura”.
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She wants everything to be perfect so she and her friend Grant Knoll ask local collector Stewart Chaffee if she can borrow his valuable Australian case clock that will bring much authenticity to the production. Grant and Claire agree to pick it up the next day after Stewart recalls where he placed it, but when they visit the estate, they find Stewart dead. Confined to a wheelchair, it at first looks as if the refrigerator fell on top of Stewart but the police quickly discover it is a murder. There are so many suspects with sufficient motive and opportunity that Claire devises a very clever way to smoke the killer out of hiding.

Michael Craft is a talented, gifted storyteller who is clearly a grandmaster of the amateur sleuth tale. Claire's romance with a student almost half her age feels natural and beautiful, and her ability to connect the dots makes her a realistic detective. Fans of the Mark Manning series also written by Mr. Craft will be delighted to know that he plays a key role in this tale and his nephew Thad makes a cameo appearance in this crafty all in the family production.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Desert Winter

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards lover Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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