Sunday, January 28, 2018

Boston Attorney Brady Coyne Finds a Dark Mystery in the Scenic Maine Woods

The fifteenth entry in the Brady Coyne series finds the Boston lawyer visiting his girlfriend, Alex Shaw, at her home in Maine. Alex has taken a leave of absence from her job as a reporter in Boston and has rented a home out in the Maine woods while she writes a book. Brady is driving up to spend most weekends with her there, but it's not clear what this separation bodes for the future of the relationship.

While driving back to Alex's home from the tiny town nearby, Brady happens upon a middle-aged African-American woman named Charlotte Gillespie walking along the road, carrying her very sick dog in the direction of town. Brady gives the woman a lift to the vet's where the vet tells them that the dog has gotten into some sort of poison. The vet will keep the dog for the time being, and Brady gives Charlotte a ride back to the primitive cabin that she has rented out in the woods.

On arriving there, Brady sees that the woman has posted a "No Hunting" sign at the entrance to the property that she is renting. He also sees that someone has spray-painted a swastika over the sign. Charlotte dismisses the act as vandalism, but clearly she's troubled about something, although she initially rebuffs Brady's concern.

Any reader of crime fiction will understand, of course, that the poisoning of Charlotte's poor dog and the appearance of swastikas, portend very ominous developments in the immediate future. Sure enough, the dog dies and someone makes off with its body. Then Charlotte disappears and Brady feels compelled to investigate. Pretty soon he's up to his neck in trouble and danger in a place where the great scenic beauty conceals some pretty dastardly deeds. 

William G. Tapply, who also wrote articles for a variety of outdoors magazines like Field and Stream, is especially good at describing the setting here, and also introduces a number of interesting supporting characters. All in all, this is another very good entry in an excellent regional mystery series.

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