THE ____ THICKENS . . . P.I. Rosco Polycrates and crossword editor Belle Graham take their puzzle-sleuthing skills to a sleepy New England town that’s waking up to some nasty surprises...

Folks in Taneysville, Massachusetts are in an uproar. A builder wants to develop fifteen acres of land--and they’re sure it will be the ruin of the quaint and quiet lifestyle they hold dear. Then the determined developer is stopped cold in his tracks...not by a demonstration, but by a grisly discovery. The skeletal remains of a young woman have been unearthed by the construction crew. Belle and Rosco are fast on the case. It’s not long before anonymous crosswords start pouring in--but even with a plethora of clues, Belle and Rosco are finding that in this old-fashioned hamlet, not everything is black and white...
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In Taneysville, Massachusetts, a builder is developing fifteen acres of land. The vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church, just down the hill from the construction, meet to figure out a way to stop the builder. The noise and vibrations from the machine are damaging the church. John Stark, a vestry member, goes up to confront the builder. Unfortunately this does nothing to stop them. The people in town are quite upset as none of the local tradesmen were hired for this job. They brought in a foreign crew.

Then a skeleton is found by the construction crew. This stops the machines and workmen. The police take the remains to be analyzed and will not allow them to continue. They are concerned this might be a sacred Indian burial ground. So until the skeleton is identified, no work can be done.

Mitch Hoffmeyer, a politician who grew up in Taneysville, hires P.I. Rosco Polycrates to identify the remains. He doesn't want there to be any fuel his opponent can use. Then Rosco's wife Belle, crossword editor, starts receiving anonymous crossword puzzles with hidden clues. She and Rosco start asking questions and soon find that not is all that it seems in this little town.

The author has done a great job of describing the tensions in this small town. It is all very believable and I felt like I was there. All through the book you know the unidentified older woman in the nursing home is important, but you don't know until the end why.

I like this series because it is always set in New England and the plot is always more complex than you initially think. There are twists and turns that finally bring you to the conclusion but you can't easily figure it out ahead. I always think I have it figured out and then more information is brought out and I have to start all over again.

Please read this book. It is great! The whole series is too.

Dawn Dowdle