Dunne, July 2004, 22.95, 208 pp.
Santa Cruz County horse veterinarian Dr. Gail McCarthy is pleasantly surprised when she arrives home to find her horseshoeing equipment on her property but she is perplexed when she find only three legs of the equine have been shoed. She goes into the barn and finds Dominic Castillo lying with a bullet in his stomach, his breathing very labored. When she goes to him, he informs her he accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun.
After the ambulance takes him away, Detective Matt Johnson questions Gail, who is horrified to learn that Dominic might have been murdered. The officer treats her like a suspect but Gail knows he will find plenty of people who wanted Dominic dead including discarded wives, girlfriends and cuckolded husband. Gail becomes a suspect in another homicide because she was on the scene during the window of opportunity Dominoc's most current lover was murdered. Feeling set up, Gail starts doing a little investigating of her own and almost becomes the third homicide victim.
Anyone who loves horse and pastoral scenery (even with homicides to redden the landscape) will find FORGED most satisfactory. Laura Crum always provides cake worth eating with her wonderful long running McCarthy series. Her latest amateur sleuth will contrast murder to the beauty of nature. The mystery is nicely accomplished, as everyone seems to have had a motive and an opportunity including the vet.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner