Walden Pond is not so tranquil when murder strikes, and it’s up to scholar/sleuth Homer Kelly to restore balance in an “unflaggingly entertaining” mystery (Kirkus Reviews).
Alice Snow is the first to die. In the morning, she and her friends at the Pond View Trailer Park watchsoap operas, worrying about the lives of TV’s rich and powerful. A few hours later, a hiking Homer Kelly finds Alice lying outside her trailer, head smashed and heart stopped. Though her fellow Pond View residents do not realize it, their lives are in danger too. The state-owned park sits on Walden Pond, just north of the replica of Thoreau’s log cabin. Where the philosopher once retreated to find nature is now a hive of humanity—hemmed in by a highway, a landfill, and the planned site of a new mini-mall. The trailer park stands in the developers’ way, and when more Pond View residents die, Homer suspects murder. The developers have no qualms about killing Concord’s past—might they murder its present too?
Liberally laced with wry Yankee humor, Langton's eighth Homer Kelly mystery, after The Dante Game , chides the American propensity to glorify the new while destroying the old. Few people in Concord, Mass., seem concerned when residents of Pond View Trailer Park, near Walden Pond and the municipal dump, begin to die. Most of the citizenry is more involved in the conflict over the proposed development of a mall and condominiums near the pond. Retired detective Homer Kelly suspects the deaths may not be accidental, although he knows the projected development doesn't involve Pond View property. Kelly is assisted in his (unofficial) investigation by Ananda Singh, a native of India who has made a pilgrimage to the locale immortalized by Henry David Thoreau. An invasion of Boston homeless people and a local election further divide the townspeople into two camps: those who seek to preserve Concord's historical ambience and those who want it to become urban and chic. Langton's simple, elegant pen-and-ink drawings add to the mood of her leisurely paced, well-crafted puzzler.