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Synopsis

A grizzled Lake Superior fisherman with a massive allergy to bees dies very early one morning alone on his boat. Was he stung to death? John McIntire, retired from a career in military intelligence and striving to regain a place in his boyhood home after 30 years away, is serving as township constable. He questions the easy verdict. The town of St. Adele has little experience with violent death — or murder. Nor does McIntire, despite fighting in two world wars. Worse, all the suspects are friends and neighbors, men and women he grew up with “talking Swede.” The dead man, last of a Norwegian family who came to raise apples in the struggling rural township sandwiched between the Huron Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the southern shore of Lake Superior, had no real enemies despite his gruff temper. And he had little to leave aside from a heavily mortgaged boat. So, who wanted to kill him? Saddened by violence striking Utopia, worried his British bride might cut and run, his task complicated by taciturn witnesses and six party telephone lines, the naturally humorous McIntire, while bringing a murderer to justice, struggles to evolve a new perspective on a rural community he has idealized for three decades. Rich in magnificent landscape, vivid characters stepping from a past both thoroughly Midwestern and multi-ethnic, and a secret-laden story, filled with laughter and warm insights, Past Imperfect offers a new voice of great promise reminiscent of the debuts of Steve Hamilton, A Cold Day in Paradise, and William Kent Krueger, Iron Lake.

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