A gentile in a world of Saints, Salt Lake City private eye Moroni Traveler doesn't follow the Mormon religion into which he was born, yet it determines the course of his every case. In this, his sixth appearance (after The Spoken Word ), Moroni is hired by an old-timer who wants to pay a debt before he dies to a man who may himself have died long ago. Utah housed camps for captured Germans during WW II; a number of prisoners working on local farms died or disappeared under mysterious circumstances. One such prisoner vanished with his wages outstanding, leaving Moroni's elderly client, a former accountant, troubled for nearly half a century. Powerful local Mormons, however, take a dim view of meddling with the dead, or even with those only likely to be so. To further complicate the search for the missing prisoner, Moroni and his father, who is also his partner, trail a missing child who may be the younger PI's son. Although his sketchy depiction of Mormon culture--and of a few secondary characters--may interfere with new readers' enjoyment, Irvine expertly unravels a skein of decades-old mysteries in a satisfying addition to his unusual, solid series. (July)
Moroni Traveler is Salt Lake City's contemporary version of Philip Marlowe. In the land of the Latter Day Saints, Traveler is a true outcast, as is anyone who's not a Saint. Retired colonel Lewis Stiles hires Traveler to find Karl Falke. Stiles was a POW guard during World War II, and Falke was interred at his Utah compound. The prisoners were paid for their labor. Falke was owed $132.07 when he escaped following a shooting that left six German POWs dead. The colonel is dying and wants to "settle his books." Traveler, working with his father, Martin, follows the long-cold trail through the small towns of Utah. The case becomes deadly when an influential Latter Day Saint is implicated and winds up dead. The ongoing villainy--or at least villainous complicity--of the Mormon church is a tired theme, but Traveler and his father make up for it. As they investigate they reveal new aspects of their characters as well as a forgotten aspect of American history.