The Ragman's Memory (Joe Gunther Series #7)

The Ragman's Memory (Joe Gunther Series #7)

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by Archer Mayor
     
 

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A small girl brings Joe Gunther a bird’s nest—made partially of human hair. In the search to put a body, and an identity, to the hair’s owner, Joe comes upon an unexplained death, a grisly murder, and a sudden disappearance. All seem to be entangled in a puzzling web of municipal corruption, blackmail, and industrial espionage. A shell-shocked

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Overview

A small girl brings Joe Gunther a bird’s nest—made partially of human hair. In the search to put a body, and an identity, to the hair’s owner, Joe comes upon an unexplained death, a grisly murder, and a sudden disappearance. All seem to be entangled in a puzzling web of municipal corruption, blackmail, and industrial espionage. A shell-shocked World War II vet nicknamed “The Ragman” may hold the key to it all, if Joe can get him to talk before the murderer strikes again.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Sunday Globe
A complex and satisfying plot...almost perfect.
Washington Times
A pleasure...Mr. Mayor has created an intelligent, gentle, and feeling human being in Gunther....A loverly way to spend a few hours.
NY Times Book Review
Archer Mayor has made an honorable art form of the regional mystery.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A child discovers human hair and scalp in a bird's nest, triggering a complex murder investigation for Brattleboro, Vt., police lieutenant Joe Gunther. In his seventh adventure (after The Dark Root), Gunther finds that the victim, troubled teenager Shawna Davis, had known local activist Mary Wallis, who abruptly dropped her opposition to a planned convention center soon before Shawna was murdered. Wallis is missing. Politician Ned Fallows supported the project, then retired and left town. A vagrant dies mysteriously. A nursing home patient is murdered in her bed. As Gunther tries to connect these events, Selectman Thomas Chambers (NeverTom, the locals call him, because he dislikes the nickname) pressures police to ease up. Gunther doggedly picks his way through this maze with the help of his lover, Gail Zigman, and a determined detective squad. The solution lies in the memory of a shell-shocked Battle of the Bulge survivor who still sees German spies everywhere, but may have seen a real killer, too. Joe Gunther is a sympathetic, regular guy who excels at a tough job in a beautiful, if unforgiving, environment. Mayor highlights tensions between proponents of development and those who would preserve Vermont's beauty, making this solid noir mystery an offbeat New England tourguide, too. (Dec.)
Kirkus Reviews
"We've got five major cases so far," announces Lt. Joe Gunther two-thirds through this tangled novel, and there's no doubt that Brattleboro's homicide squad is stretched to its limit. First, there's the murder of teenaged runaway Shawna Davis, doped to the gills for the week before she was finally killed. Second, there's the disappearance of angry Mary Wallis, the homeless advocate who took Shawna in shortly before she died. Third, homeless Milo Douglas turns up dead, not of the seizure everybody assumes, but of rabies. All three cases are probably tied to the fourth—the devious return to life of an imperiled, sinister convention center whose most ardent supporters, the leaders of Brattleboro, make Joe wonder just who he can trust in his hometown. But what does any of them have to do with the fifth—the strangling of unpleasant old Adele Sawyer only months before she was expected to die under her own steam (of which she had plenty)? From interrogations to forensics to the occasional car chase, Joe and his squad shine in unearthing the buried connections that hold the complex plot together—but their big break will depend on jogging the memory of a witness to the Sawyer killing whose mind is still trapped back in WW II.

Joe's intricate seventh case is as far-reaching as his outsized sixth (The Dark Root, 1995, etc.), but so much more close-knit—every new suspect seems to awaken painful memories for Joe—that Mayor's Brattleboro ends by containing a whole sorry world.

Marilyn Stasio
“…by practicing his craft with dazzling skill and by digging for the deeper moral issues behind every grass-roots crime, [Archer Mayor] has made an honorable art form of the regional mystery.” —Marilyn Stassio, New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780979812262
Publisher:
AMPress
Publication date:
01/01/2007
Series:
Joe Gunther Series, #7
Pages:
278
Sales rank:
502,366
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Archer Mayor has been on the New York Times Bestseller list. He is a winner of the New England Booksellers Association/NEBA Award for Best Fiction. — the first time a writer of crime literature was so honored. His Joe Gunther detective series is one of the most enduring and critically acclaimed police procedural series being written today.

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