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Hedy Reviews “Blackman’s Coffin”

By Library Staff

First in the Sam Blackman series.  The others are “The Fitzgerald Ruse”, “The Sandburg Connection”, “A Murder in Passing”, and to be published in the fall of 2015 “A Specter of Justice”.

Sam Blackman was a Chief Warrant Officer in the Criminal Investigation Detachment of the U.S. Military when he lost his leg in Iraq.  He was moved from Washington, D.C., to a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, because he was complaining too much about facilities and treatment.  There he meets an ex-marine and fellow amputee who points him in a new direction–until she’s murdered.

There are so many interesting facets to this book: wounded vets with details about artificial legs and the wearing of them, the Vanderbilts and their mansion Biltmore, the author Thomas Wolfe and his novel “Look Homeward, Angel”, the landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, gold and emerald mining, racism, sexism, and a great sense of place.  There’s an historical story as compelling as the contemporary story.  And a touch of humor too.

This is a good book for detective fans, history buffs, and  those who like traditional complex puzzle mysteries.  “Blackman’s Coffin” also tied for favorite book and for best discussion in the Library’s Mystery Book Discussion group this year.

MYS DECA  “Blackman’s Coffin” by Mark de Castrique, 2008, 255 pages