Down East 2013 ©
On Mallorca, while her eccentric husband, Tobias, pursues a scholarly passion for stone walls, Sarah Child amuses herself by tailing a pair of young tourists. When their meanderings lead to the Childs’ own winter rental, Sarah begins to suspect Tobias of having a secret life. She coaxes “The Greek Ladies,” her circle of aging friends back in Portland, into doing some prying, but they soon find more compelling matters to investigate.
Death in Arcadia (LuLu Communications, Portland, Maine; paperback; 368 pages; $19.99 ), Agnes Bushell’s eleventh novel is a multi-layered murder mystery centered on Portland’s art community. The victim is a wealthy condominium developer and chief trustee of the art college on Congress Street where Tobias happens to teach. This is not a grim tale, but rather a witty and smart gambol through contemporary, ever-evolving Portland as experienced by those who were once agents for change themselves. Those familiar with Portland’s social scene will get double the mystery-solving pleasure of trying to guess the identities of the real people who inspired Bushell’s characters. —Virginia M. Wright