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by Tim Myers
Berkley, June 2006
240 pages
ISBN: 0425210561

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

On a peaceful kayaking ride on the Gunpowder River in North Carolina, Harrison Black is horrified to find the body of his one-time girlfriend, Becka Lane in the river. Since she died of an overdose of pills, the sheriff considers her death a suicide, while Harrison knows that it wasn't because Becka hated all pills. He feels obliged to vindicate her by proving her death murder.

However, Harrison has other things on his plate. Developer Greg Runion wants to buy River's Edge, the building left to Harrison by his great aunt. He also wants the adjacent property, owned by octogenarian Cyrus Walters, who refuses to see Harrison when he comes to plead with Cyrus not to sell.

At the same time, Harrison is trying to make a go of his candlemaking shop, At Wick's End, part of the building left to him by Belle. He both sells supplies and gives lessons in candlemaking. In fact, one of the few glitches in the book is that there is more about making candles than most of us want to know.

Two major assets in the book are Millie, owner of the bakery/coffee shop, who is a great source of local gossip, and Markum, Harrison's mysterious neighbor/tenant/friend, who says that he runs a salvage and rescue business, but who is available at any time -- day or night.

To his dismay, Harrison learns that two of the silent partners in Runion's venture are Cyrus Walters and Grover Blake, who allegedly gave his millions to charity and now makes the best barbecue this side of heaven. And he discovers what got Becka murdered.

Harrison suffers from the main problem of amateur detectives. People have no good reason to answer his nosy questions. In fact, Blake become so irate at Harrison's prying that he banishes him and Markum forever.

Myers' plot moves quickly, slowed down only by the -- perhaps necessary -- forays into candlemaking sales and instruction. At Wick's End becomes a major character in the story, as Harrison shares duties with the crusty Eve.

Markum is the most intriguing character in the story -- the one you'd like to have over to dinner -- though you wouldn't dare try to improve on Blake's barbecue.

Reviewed by Mary Elizabeth Devine, July 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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