A Joe Gunther Mystery by Archer Mayor
Review: Vermont Bureau of Investigation officer Joe Gunther must link three murders that are connected only by a single drop of blood — and inexplicably one not from the victim or apparently the killer — in Red Herring, the 21st mystery in this series by Archer Mayor.
The case starts out with a murdered rape victim who wasn't a raped, a suicide that wasn't a suicide, and a fatal automobile accident that wasn't an accident, all of which occur within days of each other. There doesn't seem to be any connection between these staged crimes … except at the scene of each is found a circular disc of glistening blood. The "rape" victim, an elderly woman, had a drop on her forehead near her hairline; the "suicide", also an elderly woman, was found with a blood drop on her foot; and the drop associated with the "accident" victim, a 19-year-old boy, was on the dashboard of his truck. What strikes Joe and his team as odd is that forensics determines that the blood at each site is not only different from site to site, but did not come from any of the victims — meaning, if the same person killed all three, then it couldn't be his or hers either. The only option open to Joe is to investigate the backgrounds of the victims; the manner in which they died and the placement of the drop of blood may be clues into how they are connected — and who killed them.
Red Herring is a satisfyingly complex mystery, one that combines cutting-edge forensics with decidedly tried-and-true investigative methods. The characters are well drawn and comfortable working together; small town Vermont is charmingly depicted. There are a number of surprises along the way as Joe learns more about the victims and their lives, culminating in a whodunit resolution that is most rewarding.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Red Herring.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Red Herring for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Price of Malice
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), September 2009
ISBN-13: 9780312381929; ISBN-10: 0312381921
Three Can Keep a Secret
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), October 2013
ISBN-13: 9781250026132; ISBN-10: 125002613X
Location(s) referenced in Red Herring: Vermont
— ♦ —
Red Herring by Archer Mayor — A Joe Gunther Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 2010
List Price: $24.99
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites