Avon, June 2003, 6.99, 368 pp.
The Stone Harbor Historical Society wants to build a gift house with bathrooms on the grounds of Chandler Home and they hired archeologist Emma Fielding to set up a site where they want to dig. Emma plans to identify any archeological remains and to learn more about the Chandler family who was a power in the community in the early eighteenth century. Emma lives in nearby Lawton, Massachusetts so this summer dig is an easy commute for her.
The site yields some good artifacts when Emma and her students find the dead body of the security guard. The police temporary halt work at the site so Emma spends time with her sister. The police permit the dig to continue but immediately close it down again when the body of Aden Fiske, the head of the Historical Society is found. When Emma starts asking questions, she discovers that Aden had many enemies. However, the killer goes to far when her sister is poisoned.
The heroine of PAST MALICE is a very likable character who loves her husband and sister more than she does the job. She makes compromises to keep her husband satisfied that she isn't putting herself in danger and is ready to listen to her sister when she is ready to talk about her man troubles. She learns the secrets of the town, which places her in danger from a killer who will go to any lengths to keep them buried. While the story line is fast-paced and exciting it is the heroine who makes this a book to remember.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner