From one of our group member's suggestions, we turn to contemporary mystery novelist Archer Mayor for our July 2008 selection -- St. Alban's Fire. This is the 16th volume in the popular Joe Gunther series. Winter is on the wane in northwestern Vermont. The moon hangs bright and cold in the silvery night sky over hundreds of square miles of a peaceful, dormant landscape of dairy farms. Young Bobby Cutts enters the family barn to tend to the beasts within...and encounters a nightmare. Suddenly surrounded by bolts of fire, Bobby and the entire herd perish in a stampeding, hellish circle of flames. Called to the scene to investigate, Joe Gunther instantly recognizes arson. But by whom? And for what possible reason? There is little insurance, the family is loving and tightly knit, and there are few neighborhood animosities. Yet murder this is, and Gunther quickly discovers that someone is wreaking havoc across the bucolic farmlands surrounding the town of St. Albans. Somewhere in the dense social fabric of the community, in the hearts and souls of Bobby's family, and in the cutthroat farming business underneath the region's placid exterior are the truths Joe Gunther and his team must ferret out. But what looked like a local case is about to take them from the barns of Vermont to the gritty streets of Newark, New Jersey. Before all is said and done, Joe Gunther will meet one of his deadliest opponents to date...and he will need far more than his skills as a policeman to protect the people closest to his heart.
This title was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on July 31, 2008. We encourage you to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below!