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    Review of WIFE OF MOON by Margaret Coel

    Berkley Prime Crime, September 2004

    A century ago, an Arapaho woman was killed while a photographer staged a Native American raid at the reservation. Three Indians were convicted of the crime and put to death. In the present day, an exhibition of the photographer's work is being held on the Arapaho reservation. When the museum curator vanishes, and another Arapaho woman is killed, Father John O'Malley and Arapho attorney Vickey Holden both believe that there must be a connection. Of course, the connection might just be an Indian with a wandering eye.

    Author Margaret Coel introduces a rich set of suspects. Could T. J. Painted Horse have murdered his wife for the insurance money? Or could irate Indians--or rich businessmen killed her in an attempt to pressure T. J. to back off of his efforts to prevent exploitation of the methane reserves under the reservation? Then there's the scary husband of the museum curator. An ex-CIA agent, Eric Loftus has killed before--and seems to have an unhealthy obsession over his wife.

    Coel gradually unfolds the mystery, using flashbacks to 1907 and the first murder to let the reader know more than the protagonists and up the suspense. Coel's writing keeps the story moving along and the reader engaged throughout. The Native American setting and the historical details add interest. I would have liked to see a more satisfying ending to the story, but what was for me a downbeat end is certainly in keeping with the background to Coel's story.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 12/27/04

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