Picks and Pans Review: Dead Meat

updated 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by William G. Tapply

This conventional murder mystery is far better than run-of-the-mill because of the evocative descriptions of wildlife and of salmon-and-trout fishing in northern Maine. The hero is a Boston lawyer, Brady Coyne. One of the vastly wealthy men who has Coyne on retainer co-owns a sporting camp that the Indians want to buy because it has an old burial ground on it. When Coyne gets to Maine to see if he can find out what is behind the Indians' offer, one of the guests at the camp's lodge has disappeared. The missing man's brother arrives to see if he can learn anything, and Coyne finds his body in the lake. The brother has been shot with an arrow and was half scalped. The sheriff flies in, arrests an Indian guide for the murder and flies out. Coyne believes that the lawman has the wrong man, and he does enough investigating to become a potential victim himself. Tapply, a teacher who lives in Concord, Mass., has written four other mystery novels. His characters' behavior is occasionally whimsical—he has his hero hand out such advice as, "When you don't know exactly the right thing to say to a woman, it means you shouldn't say anything." But the plot is solid, and the passages devoted to wilderness lore are lyrical. (Scribner's, $14.95)

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