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“Paradise City,” a Joe Gunther Novel, by Archer Mayor

For fans of Archer Mayor’s police mysteries, his latest, “Paradise City,” will be a surprise.

It basically takes place out of the usual area, Brattleboro, Vt.; most of the action is in Northampton. This is what the book title, “Paradise City,” means. It is the police department’s name for Northampton.

The familiar Joe Gunther and his team at the Vermont Bureau of Investigation ( invented by Mayor for his books) are alerted to a string of unrelated burglaries across Vermont. Someone has been stealing antiques and jewelry, in addition to flat screen TVs, computers and stereos.

Meanwhile, in Boston, an elderly woman surprises some thieves in her Beacon Hill home and is viciously murdered. The Boston police find a connection between the stolen items in Vermont and the brutal homicide on Beacon Hill, during which jewelry was also stolen. Word around town is that someone powerful was purchasing these particular items in “Paradise City,” or Northhampton.

For readers in our area of Frankin County and Brattlebro, this is a story they can relate to. If a reader ha been shopping in either town, the story easily comes to life.

Gunther, the Boston police and the vengeful niece of the murdered woman convene in Northampton, eager to get to the source of the mystery and find “the responsible” parties. Each have different reasons for tracking down the criminal or criminals.

Needing help, Gunther brings along Willie Kunkle, who will be familiar to readers from the previous novels. When Kunkle takes a chance to make a capture, he is very seriously injured from a shooting. Will he make a recovery and return to Vermont?

Places like Amherst, a Greenfield restaurant and Hampshire College, all appear in Mayor’s novel.

A fictional police chief in Northampton becomes an important part of the story and other new characters are introduced. The suspense is high until the very last page. Having many new characters makes the book exciting.

Archer Mayer fans will not be disappointed. How does Mayer do it?

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