Life in July of 1964 in the small prairie town of Dickinson, North Dakota, might seem to be quiet and unthreatening. Until one morning the bodies of Erik and Lida Knudsen are found murdered in their beds, their throats slit, their young sons sleeping in nearby rooms. When Marjorie Trumaine, Lida’s closest friend, and a skilled researcher and professional indexer, who lives in the farm adjacent to the Knudsens, is asked by Stark County Sheriff Hilo Jenkins to investigate the strange copper amulet discovered clutched in the dead man’s hand, Marjorie can hardly refuse.
Marjorie has enough on her plate: taking care of her husband, Hank (her former high school sweetheart - they re both now in their mid-thirties), bedridden for years since the accident that left him blind and paralyzed. In order to try to make ends meet, after taking a correspondence course offered by the Department of Agriculture, she has worked for New York publishing houses indexing tomes on unusual subjects (such as her present project dealing with African headhunters), at which she has become somewhat surprisingly good. The amulet takes her into research on Norse mythology and orthography, lores and legends and myths of the Old West. I must admit I stumbled at times over some of the rather arcane (to me) terminology, but the writing is otherwise lyrical, making farmland and the prairie come to life, with their “fierce, unrelenting winters” when “the stars seemed too cold to sparkle,” and summers when “daylight seemed to go on forever.”
The suspense mounts when another murder takes place, chillingly similar to the first two, shockingly – they are the first murders to take place there in over 25 years, in a town with a population of 10,000 souls. There is no graphic violence, at least not on the page, in this novel, just a menacing green Chevy that keeps reappearing in Marjorie’s path. And as someone once said, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t after you. The novel is interesting and well-plotted, and is recommended....Continua