Conspiracy of Silence
Review: An intriguing prologue in which a young woman, concerned about her family's medical history, learns she's adopted sets the stage for a decades-old unsolved murder mystery in Conspiracy of Silence by Martha Powers.
Clare Prentice is engaged to be married when her doctor gives her the startling news of her adoption. Though the woman she knew as her mother has recently died, and she was told her father died when she was young, she breaks off the engagement and leaves Chicago for Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a town in which her adoptive mother once lived. A reporter for a literary magazine, Clare is given an assignment by her editor that gives her a cover story for her trip: an interview with a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who happens to live in Grand Rapids. Once there she quickly discovers that her adoptive mother had a sister who was murdered in the town, presumably by her husband who subsequently committed suicide. But strange events begin to occur that suggest Clare is in danger herself, that in trying to discover her past she may be jeopardizing her future.
Conspiracy of Silence has a kind of quiet energy that keeps the pages turning despite some obvious problems with the plot. The small town setting works to the story's advantage, allowing Clare to integrate herself into the community quickly, investigating her own identity while keeping her true reason for being there largely a secret. The author adeptly incorporates several familiar plot twists that are generally successful in misdirecting the reader but unfortunately are not sufficiently developed to generate any real suspense. And there is a heavy reliance on Clare's memory returning at convenient moments and some wildly improbable coincidences to move the plot forward. Still, the whodunit aspect is handled well and as a mystery for that snowy afternoon in front of the fireplace, Conspiracy of Silence is a good choice.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided an ARC of Conspiracy of Silence for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover), October 2006
ISBN-13: 9781933515038; ISBN-10: 1933515031
Location(s) referenced in Conspiracy of Silence: Minnesota
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Conspiracy of Silence by Martha Powers
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: October 2008
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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