Past Imperfect Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Past Imperfect

Poisoned Pen, July 2002, 24.95, 302 pp.
ISBN 1590580074

He left St. Adele, Michigan as a boy and returned to it as a man, having served in two world wars in military intelligence. Now John McIntire and his British wife are trying to become a part of the community. He becomes the town's constable and she is the publisher of the local newspaper.
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John looks forward to some serenity, but almost immediately he investigates a homicide that he quickly solves. A year later, fisherman Nels Bertelsen is found dead aboard his boat, the victim of a bee bite. At first it appears to be a tragic accident, but John uncovers evidence that leads him to conclude that someone placed the bee in the victim's clothing while the medicine that would have saved Nels was replaced by something useless. The only problem is nobody had a motive to murder the man.

PAST IMPERFECT is a very well written regional mystery starring an enigmatic hero who is readjusting to life in the USA. The supporting cast is colorful and eccentric while the plot is fast-paced and exciting. Katherine Hills makes the 1950's in the peninsula of Northern Michigan seem real in the mind's eye of the reader, who along with reviewer, looks forward to more works starring the True Grit like character of John McIntire.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Past Imperfect

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%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:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in small town Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest

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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Kathleen Hills Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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