"Strange eccentric amateur sleuth tale."
Though her preference would be to stay home in Southern
California, literary agent Charlie Greene agrees to
accompany her adopted mother who is attending a funeral in
Iowa. Charlie has not met this side of the family that has
never accepted adoption as a source of viable kin. Still,
Charlie would do almost anything for her mother, biology
professor Edwina Greene, including meeting the extended
family even in this backwater.
Once there, Charlie realizes she has an opportunity to
uncover the identity of her biological mother, but instead
ends up at Gentle Oaks Nursing Home. Though elderly, the
patients seem more senile than the average
geriatrics. Most of the senior citizens act petrified in
mind and body leaving Charlie to wonder why society allows
people to live with what appears no dignity, hope or
thought. Apparently someone agrees with Charlie because
someone begins killing the residents. Encouraged to
uncover the truth, Charlie begins to investigate what seem
to be euthanasia killings.
The latest Charlie Green mystery, THE RAMPANT REAPER, is a
strange eccentric amateur sleuth tale. The story line
centers on what to do for the aging especially when the
mind goes and the body is not lagging far behind. However,
Marlys Millhiser's efforts to use humor to diffuse the
seriousness of the topic come across as iniquitous because
the cast including the heroine is nasty. Fans who don't
mind an ensemble of misanthropes will enjoy Charlie's
sleuthing and the insight into a problem that society would
prefer die away.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 20, 2002
Literary agent and amateur sleuth Charlie Greene accompanies
her mother to her great-great-aunt's funeral under great
duress--after all, Charlie herself is adopted, and this part
of her extended family has never made her feel that welcome.
Plus, it's in Myrtle, Iowa, about as far from Charlie's life
as a high-powered California literary agent as one can get.
But she agrees to go. How bad could it be?
In one of Marlys Millhiser's quirky, offbeat mysteries, that
is the world's biggest rhetorical question. Because someone
may be offing the elderly in this midwestern town's only
nursing home, and it falls to Charlie, the suspicious
outsider, to put all the pieces together. Dealing with a
passel of wacky relatives she's never met and a vicious
killer as well won't be the easiest task she's ever been
handed, but Charlie's good humor and recently acquired
investigative experience should be more than enough to
finish the job. That is, if she can escape the prying eyes
that seem to peer at her from every corner of the tiny town.
Millhiser outdoes herself yet again in The Rampant Reaper ,
an effort sure to leave both loyal fans and new readers
clamoring for the next installment of this unconventional
and engaging series.