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Dismal Mountain

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The third Owen Allison mystery, following Contrary Blues (1998) and Highway Robbery (2000), finds the transportation inspector defending his Aunt Lizzie against a murder charge. With her land threatened by the construction of a shopping mall, Lizzie parks herself at the edge of her property, shotgun in her lap, vowing to do whatever it takes to stop the dump trucks; then, suddenly, a truck driver is dead. Did Aunt Lizzie really shoot him? Owen smells a rat, but Lizzie seems determined to refuse his help. Throw in an assortment of welldrawn characters (Billheimer's specialty) and a clever scam run by some shady hospital administrators, and you have a firstrate crime novel.
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