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“Familiar Friend ”

Written on: 30/05/2006 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

Familiar Friend

Cristina Sumners

Bantam, August 2006, $6.99, 322 pp.

ISBN 0563584325

After a marriage counseling session, Tracy is walking home when she comes upon a dead body in the drive way of St. Margaret's Church. She runs across the street to the police station; the cops find the murdered body of the head of the Spanish Department of Harton University Mason Blaine. Harton, New Jersey Chief of Police Tom Holder takes charge of the case and discovers he is drowning in suspects became the dead professor was a vindictive man who made a lot of enemies.

While he is working that case, the suspects are at an academic party with Tom's friend Reverend Kathryn Koerney attending as a spy for him. While Kathryn talks with Tracy, the latter's husband grabs her drink from her hand, drinks it, and immediately dies. Poison was proven to be the murder weapon. Between the two cases, Tom has not seen his wife and it turns up she has been missing for four days. The D.A. suspends Tom and takes over his two murder investigations hoping to get the glory. Kathryn, with the help of Tom's friends, devises a way for the suspended cop to get his job back so he can solve the homicides.

Readers will thoroughly enjoy the combination police procedural amateur sleuth mystery that opens with the "destruction of Tom Holder" and never slows down. The characters are richly defined and even the suspects for the most part are likeable. Readers will never guess who the killer is and will be even more stunned when they learn why his wife disappeared. Christina Sumners writes a first rate crime caper.

Harriet Klausner

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