A Gail McCarthy Mystery by Laura Crum
Review: Chasing Cans is the tenth mystery in this series by Laura Crum to feature horse veterinarian Gail McCarthy who investigates the accidental death of a neighbor that might have been anything but.
Gail is a new mother; her son, Mac, is just a year old and is the joy of her life. Though she misses spending time with her horses, she's knows they're nearby in a pasture leased from an old friend. But when she learns that a new neighbor, Lindee Stone, has leased the pasture and demands Gail remove her horses, she's angry. Storming out to confront Lindee at her stables, she arrives just in time to see Lindee, a professional trainer of rodeo horses, fall from her mount. To Gail's horror, the horse topples over as well, falling on Lindee, killing her. Though almost certainly a tragic accident, Gail isn't so sure. Lindee was one of the best in the business and a fall like she witnessed seemed improbable. Gail's suspicions are aroused further when another trainer is badly injured the next day, thrown from the horse she was riding and subsequently kicked in the head. As Gail probes into Lindee's background, she discovers no shortage of people who might want to see her dead. But there's no evidence that she was murdered.
The books in this series have been as much character studies as mysteries, and Chasing Cans is no different. Gail waxes poetic on motherhood in general, and on being a mother to her son in particular, sometimes to excess. But these musings serve a purpose. She's reluctant to get involved in Lindee's death fearing it might interfere with taking care of Mac, yet the appeal to solve the puzzle is simply too alluring. If the accident was caused intentionally, how was it done? And was the intent to scare Lindee or to kill her?
The setting for Chasing Cans covers a few acres at most, yet the author conveys a sense of grandness of the region. Some of the best moments in the book are when Gail spends time exploring the area, communing with nature. Still, it is a mystery and Gail works through how the accident may have been caused but never reasons out the who and why until confronted by the culprit. In this regard, it's a bit disappointing that it wasn't more of a challenge for her. And though the book opens with a prologue that is oddly philosophical (chasing cans being a metaphor for life), it ends with a poignant epilogue that is a fitting conclusion to the story.
Acknowledgment: Perseverance Press provided a copy of Chasing Cans for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback), September 2006
ISBN-13: 9781880284902; ISBN-10: 1880284901
Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback), April 2010
ISBN-13: 9781880284988; ISBN-10: 1880284987
Location(s) referenced in Chasing Cans: Santa Cruz, California
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Chasing Cans by Laura Crum — A Gail McCarthy Mystery
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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