Mysterious, Nov 2001, 23.95, 295 pp.
Though Vermont's TUCKER PEAK is popular in a small way by the ski crowd, the owners of the resort know they must expand or declare bankruptcy. The announced plan quickly runs into an environmental nightmare as protesters arrive to stop any further development of the pristine mountain.
At about the same, a series of crippling robberies push the TUCKER PEAK ownership closer to shutting down the ski lodge. However, the state knows the importance of tourist money especially from the ski industry. So when the local law enforcement asks for help, the Vermont Bureau of Investigation sends its best, Joe Gunther, to investigate the felons. Joe quickly determines the identity of the thief, but the individual is missing and his girlfriend murdered. Joe concludes that several of the environmentalists could not care less about hugging a tree let alone a mountaintop as they have something else in mind that could kill the dedicated police officer.
TUCKER PEAK is a hard-boiled detective story with the added twist that it occurs on an isolated Vermont mountain. The who-done-it is solved rapidly and easily only to lead to another who-done-it and several why-done-its. Joe feels out of place in this backdrop, as he seems more like an inner city blue collar cop, but that adds layers of personality to the tale as Archer Mayor has done in his previous Gunther novels. This is another winning story in a series in which all the novels are worth reading.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner