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The Red Heron by Karen Dudley

Red Heron

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Dudley’s second Robyn Devara mystery, The Red Heron continues Devara’s ­intriguing misadventures. The poison in the ground and possibly in the water table of an environmentally sensitive wetland turns out to be the least of the crew’s ­worries as a sniper takes aim at Devara’s latest project. Sabotage turns into murder most bizarre when a dead man is found with a garden variety gnome and a pack of Polaroids.

Too bad the gnomes aren't talking....

Gnomus gardinia. Garden gnome. Field biologist Robyn Devara had never felt the urge to study this particular species...until now.

The Holbrook garden gnomes have come down with a case of itchy feet. Paris, Vienna, even the Serengeti; the gnomes have been vacationing everywhere, returning to their homes with photographs of their travels. But the gnomes aren't the only ones in need of a holiday.

Woodrow Consultants is in Holbrook to clean up an abandoned pesticide plant, a site scheduled to be converted into a toxic waste treatment facility. But with a fragile wetlands and heron colonies mere kilometres away, many of the town's residents oppose the project, including whoever's taking potshots at Robyn's co-workers with a .22.

Left out of the action because of a broken leg, Robyn has surreptitiously followed her co-workers (including the attractive but elusive Kelt Roberson) to Holbrook where she is to rest and recover. The local garden gnome-nappings may have started as a harmless prank, but they quickly take a darker turn when a missing gnome shows up alongside the brutally murdered body of Richard DeSantis, an environmentalist with family connections to the waste treatment facility.

Amidst looming controversy and long-buried secrets, Robyn begins to suspect everyone: a psychiatric patient with a history of violence, the victim's stepfather, a disturbed accountant, the faceless saboteur, even her best friend's mother. Physically vulnerable and emotionally torn, Robyn struggles to find the killer--or killers.

Too bad the gnomes aren't talking....


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