Bantam, Feb 2001, 5.99, 384 pp.
Abigail Van Thiessen is happily married to the man she loves even if he is thirty plus years younger and sixty million dollars poorer. Her husband, J.B. Calendar is a rodeo cowboy, which leaves Abigail struggling to ride a horse without falling off. The pair takes off for a camp-out in the Arizona desert, but the vacation ends tragically with Abigail dead and J.B the only person in the vicinity with quite an affluent motive.
J.B. realizes that he is clearly the prime suspects so he hires private detective Trade Ellis to learn what really happened to his wife since he was too drunk to remember anything. The autopsy confirms that the heiress was murdered and the cops arrest J.B. Trade seeks evidence that leads to too many suspects who also benefited from Abigail?s death, but no one quite matches what J.B. stood to gain. Adding to her doubts about her client?s innocence is J.B failing a lie detector test.
Sinclair Browning paints a beautiful picture of Arizona?s desert and diverse culture, from the rich and famous to the illegal aliens. The mystery is fun to read, as the author unveils the puzzle one piece at a time with no one able to guess whom the killer is before Ms. Browning reveals the key clue. This is a fascinating series (see THE LAST SONG DOGS and THE SPORTING CLUB for the other two novels in this series) that deserves a long run.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner