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Three Can Keep a Secret: A Joe Gunther Novel    by Archer Mayor order for
Three Can Keep a Secret
by Archer Mayor
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long enjoyed Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther mysteries, though I've somehow missed a few in this Vermont police procedural series. I was glad to catch up again with Three Can Keep a Secret (number twenty-four!) and to see that prickly one-armed Willy Kunkle has settled down with tough, intense Sammie, and that they even have a child together, infant Emma. Lester Spinney also continues to be one of this 'team forged by fire'.

As Three Can Keep a Secret opens, hurricane Irene stirs up crisis, chaos and 'a world of hurt' throughout Vermont. When it strikes what was once the Vermont Hospital for the Insane, an elderly inmate, Carolyn Barber (who insisted on being called the Governor), wanders off. Elsewhere the raging storm unearths a coffin filled with rocks, launching Willy on an investigation that consumes him and just might result in redemption for more than one of those involved.

As they investigate, Joe and his team learn that Carolyn Barber had worked for the state about forty years before and that she had once been named Governor-for-a-Day in a PR exercise - but why was she committed? As they seek her, a killer strikes again and again, targeting people with whom she associated in those far-off days. Is someone protecting a secret? As this evolves, Vermont governor Gail Zigman and her chief advisor fall into a political trap that might well lose her the next election.

Though both investigations dig up prior crimes and some justice is served, neither results in an immediate arrest. Joe Gunther, for whom an old romantic interest is reignited, remains an eminently rational officer of the law and it continues to be a pleasure to spend time with him and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation crew. Gunther fans will appreciate Three Can Keep a Secret.

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