Mark de Castrique. The Sandburg Connection. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2011.

As this novel opens, Blackman and Robertson are working on a routine surveillance case for an insurance company.  Has that UNC-Asheville professor really been disabled by a recent back surgery, or is she trying to pull a fast one? When Sam sees her heading for a hike up Glassy Mountain, he follows with his camera, hoping to get evidence that will sink her case.  Instead, after Sam hears the woman yell “NO!” he rushes to her, only to find her barely clinging to life after a hard fall.

Janice Wainwright does not survive the fall. Feeling that Sam is under suspicion, Sam and Nakayla begin to investigate all aspects of the professor’s life.  She is survived by a teenage daughter, a sister who was distant and disapproving, and a colleague with whom she shares a painful history.  Teenage Wendy is distraught but reluctant to accept her aunt’s comfort.  Instead, Wendy throws herself into the care of her pet goat, a goat that is related to the ones kept by the poet Carl Sandburg when he lived near Glassy Mountain.  As in the previous Sam Blackman mysteries, this is a tale that weaves very contemporary interests with the history and literary culture of the Asheville area.  Even when the outlines of the mystery becomes clear, this book still contains surprises that will delight Sandburg fans, history buffs, and those who enjoy a good mystery.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, deCastrique, Mark, Henderson, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series

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