Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Murder for Beltene: A Beltene Family Mystery

Sandra L. Brewer
Write Way Publishing

On her way to the store for her nightly soft ice cream cone fix, Rhiannon Beltene finds a dead body on the path that cuts through her family's woods. Thus opens Murder for Beltene: A Beltene Family Mystery, a new novel by Sandra L. Brewer. The victim's anonymity alone is strange in the quiet town of Sevyrn, located in Brennan County in Michigan's Upper peninsula. However, the circumstances of his death -- Drained of blood with puncture wounds in the neck, the body appears to have been killed by a vampire. -- make it clear that Rhi, a successful writer of vampire fiction, has acquired a rather dangerous admirer.

As the start to bodies appear regularly Rhi finds herself forced to deal with Brennan County's new Sheriff who has serious reservations about one of Rhi's cousins. Trysan sleeps in a coffin and enjoys vampire fantasies. Despite a pressing deadline for her next novel, Rhi is forced to set her writing aside to assist the investigation and comes to accept her responsibilities as "The Beltene" or head of Clan Beltene, a family of Welsh descent that has been in Brennan County since the 1780s.

The mystery itself takes a back seat to the mystery of the Beltene family and as the reader meets an interesting assortment of clan members -- from mercenaries to lawyers to Catholic priests to long practicing (definately not "neo") Druids -- it quickly becomes clear that nothing is quite as it appears. Brewer's characters are funny, intelligent, and more than a little odd . . .. Murder for Beltene is Brewer's first novel featuring the Beltene clan, and with any luck, it won't be the last such book that we get from Brewer.

-MJ Lowe

No comments: