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Right To Remain Silent
A Connor Westphal Mystery
By Penny Warner

Bantam

Reviewed by Therese Greenwood

The concept of overlapping communities is central to this mystery, set in the eccentric town of Flat Skunk in California gold country. The wacky residents of the little mining hamlet are choosing sides as Big City people threaten the small-town way of life by buying up bits of local heritage for cold hard cash.

The story is told in the first person by deaf journalist Connor Westphal, a former city resident who has made Flat Skunk her home and who has a real scoop in the death of one of the town's most prominent citizens. Old Sparkle Bodie, one of the town's most private citizens and a vocal opponent of development plans, has actually died twice and the second time it is definitely murder. When Sparkle's deaf son is accused of her killing, the deaf community enters the scene.

Ultimately, it's up to Connor to bridge the differences between the communities and their sensibilities, etiquettes and cast of characters. Her ability to belong to several communities -- and remain a bit of an outsider in each -- makes her a good detective although, to keep the plot moving, she impetuously dashes headlong into danger a bit too often.


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