Picks and Pans Review: Murder on Clam Pond

updated 01/26/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Douglas Kiker

This neatly told murder mystery, set in a small village on Cape Cod, has as its hero J.J. McFarland, an aging reporter who quits his job in Chicago when the despicable new owner of his newspaper jazzes up his copy. Mac also learns that his wife is having an affair with her boss. After an orgy of imaginative revenge, Mac winds up house-sitting on Cape Cod. It is winter. Mac has an old poodle that hates him. While chasing the dog, Mac stumbles on a body, reports the murder and gradually comes to know the people who count in this isolated village. Most of them want to prevent the "progress" they feel is destroying the Cape. Mac falls in love with a 30ish virgin, gets a job as a stringer for a Boston paper and figures out who committed the murder—but not before there are more deaths and a suicide. Kiker, an NBC news correspondent and author of two other books, provides nice touches. The likable hero observes wryly of an old coffeepot, "I like old things that continue to work, like me." (Random House, $15.95)

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