From Publishers Weekly
Civil War buffs will especially appreciate Langton's 17th Homer Kelly mystery (after 2002's The Escher Twist), in which the Harvard professor/sleuth and his wife, Mary, plunge into research in an effort to exonerate Seth Morgan, Mary's great-great-grandfather, a Harvard man suspected of desertion at Gettysburg. In 1863, in the battle's aftermath, Seth's pregnant wife, Ida, an independent and hardy New Englander, desperately seeks her missing husband as far as Baltimore and Washington. Meanwhile, Seth's comrade-in-arms Otis Pike, "the witty darling of his class at Harvard," provides some comic relief with his tendency to skedaddle and his scandalous involvement with actress Lily LeBeau. Homer realizes that the key to the mystery of Mary's ancestor's seemingly shameful action lies in ascertaining the particulars of Seth's relationship to Otis. The suspense builds as the author adroitly shifts between past and present. Period photos, an 1860 playbill for the Hasty Pudding show, quotations from Walt Whitman and loads of Harvard lore add historical weight. Fans of this generally lighthearted series, though, should be prepared for some graphic description of the horrors of war.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
How do you keep a mystery series going after 16 novels? Keep finding clever things to do with it. In this seventeenth Homer Kelly mystery, the Harvard professor and his wife, Mary, discover an odd branch in Mary's family tree. Some chapters of the novel are set in the present, as Homer and Mary try to figure out what happened between her great-great grandfather and another man; others are set during the Civil War, as we see the events unfold. The book is illustrated, scrapbook fashion, with vintage photographs of some of the characters (who are based on real people); there are also letters, posters, playbills, and other interesting add-ons. The author combines mystery with history so cleverly that we feel like we have visited Mary's great-great grandfather on the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg. As always, Homer uses his unique intellect and insatiable curiosity to keep us entertained as he solves another mystery from the past. This remarkable series shows no signs of letting up. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved