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    ROSEWOOD'S ASHES by Aileen Schumacher


    Intrigue Press, May 2001

    Tory Travers has problems. She's sick, newly pregnant, unsure what to do about her sort-of-boyfriend David Alvarez, and her father has been in a hit-and-run accident and survives in a coma. For the first time in decades, she has to return to her family home in Florida. Alvarez insists on coming with her. He'll use the time to persuade Tory to marry him.

    As they leave the airport, a woman who shared the flight with them is killed by a speeding car. It can't be coincidence that she was involved with a project that Tory's father was considering funding. The police initially suspect Tory, especially since her reputation as a wild youth lives on in small-town Florida. Alvarez persuades them that he and Tory could have had nothing to do with the death but decides to spend the time while Tory sits with her comotose father investigating.

    Although there is a lot going on, many of the threads point to a racial tragedy in the 1920s when the Black town of Rosewood was destroyed by a white lynch mob. The research project Tory's dad had considered funding was examining this history. Adherents to every end of the political spectrum approach Tory and ask her help. Alvarez can't help thinking that the key to the crimes of today is found in ROSEWOOD'S ASHES.

    Although ROSEWOOD'S ASHES gets off to a slow start, I found myself more and more intrigued by the characters, the relationship between Tory and Alvarez, and the relationships between Tory and her family. Author Aileen Schumacher cuts between the 1920s and today, letting the reader see parallels and hinting that something from the past will continue to drive events in the present. ROSEWOOD'S ASHES is a fine mystery, with plenty of clues, red herrings, and dark secrets that are revealed when the plot seems heading toward a too-easy solution.

    Four Stars

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