In Kate Wilhelm's latest crime novel, a small Oregon town is rocked by a wheels-within-wheels case of art, fraud, and murder.
Silver Bay, Oregon, a small coastal resort town with nearly a thousand residents, is home to three generations of women: Marnie, the long-widowed owner of a small gift shop; Van, her granddaughter, who is about to graduate medical school; and Stef, mercurial, difficult, and a brilliant artist who refuses to sell her work.
When Stef discovers that Dale Oliver—the latest husband/paramour in a very long line—is trying to sell her work behind her back, she puts a stop to it and threatens to do the same to him. Shortly thereafter, Stef dies in an accident in her studio, and Dale shows up with a signed contract granting him the right to sell her work.
Convinced that Stef was murdered in order to steal her artwork, Marie and Van—grandmother and granddaughter—decide to do whatever is necessary to see that Dale doesn't get away with any of it. This includes enlisting the help of the new stranger in town, Tony, a former New York City cop, who might be the only one who can prove it was murder and bring the killer to justice.
Even in a scenic hamlet on the Oregon coast, there's no dodging death for former NYPD homicide detective Tony Mauricio in this atmospheric, suspenseful stand-alone from Wilhelm (Heaven Is High and 11 other Barbara Holloway legal thrillers). Tony, divorced and now retired on disability after his hip was shattered in a controversial line-of-duty shootout that left a teen dead, has come to Silver Bay in hopes of becoming a craftsman. He soon forges new friendships, particularly with bighearted gift shop owner Marnie Markov and her fetching granddaughter, Van, a medical student. But when Marnie's daughter and Van's mother, Stef a prodigiously talented and troubled painter ends up at the bottom of a staircase under circumstances her loved ones deem suspicious but local authorities do not, Tony may be the only one preventing someone from getting away with murder. Even after the satisfyingly surprising climax, the reader may be loath to leave Silver Bay and these affecting characters.