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Stewart, Walter
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1992. 242pp, paper, $18.99, ISBN 0-7710-8307-6. CIP

Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up

Reviewed by Darken Golke

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

Stewart, well known for his political and economic analyses, returns to the genre of the mystery novel in his sequel to Right Church, Wrong Pew and to the misadventures of Carlton Withers, journalist and "accidental" murder investigator.

Withers, a seemingly inept but disarmingly entertaining reporter for the Silver Falls Lancer, a weekly newspaper published in fictional Silver Falls in Ontario's Kawartha Lakes district, finds himself involved in murder and mayhem when his managing editor, Tommy Macklin, scores an "explosive" hole in one on the third green at Bosky Dell Golf Course. Unfortunately, Charlie, a member of the Trio con Brio of ageing golfers who was on the green at the time, explodes with the hole.

The mystery romps along with Withers' on-again off-again girlfriend, Hanna Klovack, Lancer photographer, and Joe "Running Elk" Herkimer, golf pro/poetry professor, pushing Withers along in investigating the murders that seem to flourish amid the tranquility of the Bosky Dell/Silver Falls district.

The pithy and self-deprecating narrative of Withers provides enough wit and humour along with a proliferation of false clues and misdirections to keep the reader turning the pages for the next outrageous happening. Stereotypical eccentric inhabitants of Bosky Dell join militant native people and "benevolent" tycoons like Conrad Jowett and family as the mystery stumbles along to its climax, where our hero, Withers, saves the day. Stewart sets out to entertain and succeeds. Along the way, a delightful portrait of the Kawartha district emerges. The narrative is fast paced and Withers' running commentary is delivered with wit and irony.

Senior high school and adult fans of humour and mystery should appreciate Withers' misadventures and improbable murder investigation and find Hole in One a light-hearted read.

Darken Golke is a librarian at Fort Richmond Collegiate Library in Winnipeg, Manitoba

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