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The "experience," however, turns out to be a great deal more than the young...
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The "experience," however, turns out to be a great deal more than the young women bargained for: the youth who had ridden Donna home on his motorcycle is found dead on the Woodleaf-LeBlanc's grounds the next morning. It is unclear how the young man, who had had more than his share of alcohol the night before, died, and the police are asking questions.
To some of the local people, the family is suspect to start with. After all, Russell, Donna's father, is part Abenaki and an actor who gets himself up in full Native American regalia and plays an 18th-century brave in the frequent Revolutionary War reenactments that Vermont and New York put on to "bring history to life." His wife Gwen has inherited Woodleaf Apiaries from her beekeeper father - at least two hundred hives scattered about the New England countryside requiring skill and attention if the honey crop is to bring in any money. Gwen is also the subject of gossip because she grows marijuana and belladonna for medical purposes.
Shep Noble's death begins to seem more and more like murder than accident, and his death and the LeBlanc's "differentness" incite anonymous threats and harassment from local troublemakers who paint "Squaw" and other insults on Donna's bicycle and otherwise make her life miserable.
Desperate, Donna turns to neighbor Ruth Willmarth, as so many others of the community have done. Ruth, abandoned by her husband, is struggling to raise their three children and keep her farm going with little help and even less income. But that doesn't stop her from doing what she can to comfort Donna. She urges her persistent suitor, Colm Hanna, a funeral director and a part-time police officer, to go more deeply into the mystery of Shep's death than his police colleagues are doing.
Donna meanwhile is researching a paper for her sociology class, weaving it around the story of her Vermont family, with its Native American and French Canadian roots. But tragedy dogs her - her professor is strangled and as Ruth and Colm try to unravel the tangle of Shep Noble's death, it becomes clear that the his death and the family history Donna is digging into are coming together in a clashing climax that will leave none of the players unchanged.
Author Biography: Nancy Means Wright lives, writes, and teaches in Vermont. This is her tenth book and her fourth mystery featuring Ruth Willmarth. Ruth is also the protagonist of a novella, Fire and Ice, out in 2002 from Worldwide Mystery.
"Wright doesn't put a foot wrong in this well-wrought mystery."--Boston Globe on Poison Apples
"Wright is completely at home in the Vermont world of farming and has a keen understanding of the historic cultural forces that are sometimes at odds with new settlers."--Vermont Sunday Magazine on Poison Apples
"Wright's second mystery...combines a finely wrought mystery with some superb local color...Wright melds setting and character with the skill of Stephen Dobyns in his Saratoga mysteries."--Booklist on Harvest of Bones
Posted December 9, 2008
Though she dislikes frats, Donna Woodleaf accompanies her friend Emily Willmarth to a final fling as Branbury College is shutting down any fraternity that refuses to go coed. That night baseball star Shep Noble takes Donna home, but tries to rape her. However, the Donna¿s 'experience¿ turns even uglier by the next morning when Shep is found dead on the Woodleaf grounds. The police make inquiries into the death. <P>Though no charges have been filed, many neighbors convict the Woodleaf family because Donna¿s father is part Abenaki Native American and her mother Gwen grows marijuana and belladonna for medical purposes. As the official investigation begins to look closer at whether a homicide occurred, harassment of the Woodleafs commences. Donna asks Emily¿s mother Ruth to help her and her family. Though she has her own trouble with little income and raising three children by herself, Ruth coaxes her beau, part-time police officer Colm Hanna, to dig deeper into Shep's death even as she wonders if the murder of a professor is tied to the Noble homicide. <P>STOLEN HONEY is an exciting amateur sleuth ¿ police procedural that never slows down for a paragraph. The story line is fast-paced and filled with a delightful ensemble cast. In her fourth mystery novel, Ruth remains a dynamic heroine. Though there is so much going on the audience will need a scorecard to keep track of what happens with the players, Nancy Means Wright knows the right means of providing an exhilarating tale that will satiate her growing legion of fans. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.