“Wrongful Murder” is set in the snowy wastes of upstate New York’s Adirondacks. Lieutenant Thomas Shard, head of the Mohawk Country Sheriff’s Department’s criminal section, is an ex state trooper who returned to his home town of Leyden, a classic small upstate town full of oddball characters who add color and sometimes humor to his investigations.
This volume begins with a patrolman’s discovery of a dead man in a Leyden alley. After midnight in cold miserable weather, Shard calls out the town’s coroner Doc Fox to declare the man “profoundly dead’” and then complain about the weather and Shard’s lousy SUNY English degree. The corpse has no personal effects, no ID, not even a tag sewn in his clothes. No one on the scene has ever seen him before.
Doc Fox, after his autopsy, concludes that the man “probably” died from a blow above his nose. The fingerprint report later provides identification as Samuel Landry from Smythville, New York. Shard’s investigation reveals that Landry was tangentially involved with a local Native American tribe planning to build a casino. At the same time, Landry’s secretary has mysteriously gone missing. To complicate matters, a local lawyer, Witry, begins to act strangely…a possible suspect? Throw in Robert E. Lee, real or imagined, and a gaggle of alleged Albany mobsters into the mix, and Shard is off on a wild hunt.