McMANSIONS (PI-Connecticut-Cont) – VG Scott, Justin – 4th in series

Poisoned Pen Press, 2006- US Hardcover – ISBN 1-59058-063X

Ben Abbot is a realtor and private investigator in Newbury, Connecticut, a town whose history dates back to the Colonies. Billy Tiller was a developer and the nightmare of every preservationist. His only concern was making as much money as possible in any way he could and the number of those who hated him is impressive. Billy’s body was found crushed under a D4 Bulldozer and although Jeff Kimball, a 20-year-old kid and member of ELF (Earth Liberation Front) opposed to development, he says he stumbled on the scene and was trying to get the D4 off the body when the police arrived. Now Jeff’s lawyer has hired Ben to find a defense for his client.

It has been nine years since the last Ben Abbott book, and I’m delighted he’s back. Ben is a great character—he comes from an old, New England family, has his Aunt Connie who is showing early stages of dementia, loves his town, became involved with the wrong people that landed him in prison for 3 years, is clueless about relationships with women but has befriended a young girl being raised by a single mother and is a somewhat unwilling PI. The story is a well-plotted traditional mystery with plenty of suspects and motives through which to be sorted. The issue of preservation versus development is certainly timely but doesn’t overwhelm the mystery. I found “McMansions” to be a very good read, with a very bad title, and sincerely hope the next book will be soon than nine year’s away.

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