During a stakeout on upper Michigan's Borchard River, conservation officer Mercy Virdon witnesses a canoe livery owner's decapitation by a wire strung across the water. Mercy and her boyfriend Fitzgerald, an avid angler and Thoreau devotee, believe the prime suspect, a rival lodge owner, is being framed and start investigating. Drawing its title from a term used to describe the phenomenon of quiet country rivers being swarmed over by weekend canoers, the novel offers a strong mystery, realistic dialogue, well-timed wit, vivid descriptions of outdoor life, and best of all, two beguiling stars in Mercy and Fitzgerald. Even villains and the sheriff are believable and intelligent. This agile mystery will appeal to readers who like Gregory Bean, Bill Tapply, or Dana Stabenow; to anglers, canoeists, and Thoreau fans; and to anyone who likes Calvin Trillin's affectionate views of small towns. John Rowen
From Kirkus Reviews
Ossning, a little town on the Borchard River in the upper half of Michigan's lower peninsula, is a quiet enough place except for the usual petty irregularities among neighbors: the rivalry between Link Pickett's canoe livery and Verlyn Kelso's Kabin Kamp; the sharp-eyed regard Verlyn's ex-wife Mercy Virdon, of the Department of Natural Resources, pays to Verlyn's wife Jan; the natural anxiety of Link's wife Laurel and her lover, Calvin McCann; the constant complaints of local residents about the way Link inundates the Borchard with rented canoes and clears the way for them by cutting whatever wood he finds floating in the river. Then Link himself gets cut, by a well-placed wire that nearly takes his head off as Mercy and her boss are lying in wait for him to come canoeing past them on a chargeably naughty errandand suddenly all those little irregularities start to look a lot less petty. When Verlyn and Mercy's son Kit announces that he saw somebody carrying something along the bank just before Link's last ride, Mercy's live-in, exDetroit Free Press reporter Donal Fitzgerald, hustles him out of town to the safety of the big city. But Kit, bored and restless in Detroit, hitchhikes back to Ossning just in time to walk into trouble. The offbeat scenery is the star in this otherwise modest whodunit by Weber (Troubleshooter, 1988, etc.). -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.