A Homecoming for Murder
Carroll & Graf, 1995 (hardcover)
Dell, 1998 (paperback)
When the cheering dies, murder begins...
In the town of Sheffield, Mississippi, football is next to godliness, and homecoming is the shrine. But this year, as the homecoming queens--one white, one black--are crowned and families take their usual places in the stands, shocking news is broadcast over the stadium loudspeakers: a popular high school teacher has been found murdered in a cemetery on the edge of town.
Sheriff Grover Bramlett is a devoted husband, a good cop, and an amateur painter. Bramlett knows the people, the histories, and the rhythms of Chakchiuma County. But the murder of a teacher--a man who may have been too friendly with his students--is suddenly making Bramlett a stranger to his familiar world, leading him to the doors of neighbors he once thought he knew. And when another murder follows the first, Bramlett is suddenly forced to turn his small town inside out. Because someone is killing in Sheffield to protect a secret--the kind of secret that tears families, lovers, and friends apart, and makes murder right at home.
Mystery readers first met Sheriff Grover Bramlett of Chakchiuma County, Mississippi, in A Legacy of Vengeance , and we can all welcome his return. The action begins with a literal bang as local high-school teacher Jesse Bondreaux is shot at point-blank range in the cemetery. Grover's beloved grandson, Marcellus, is nearly run over by the escaping murderer's car, leaving Grover with the unpleasant thought that the murderer knows Marcellus is a witness. As Grover and his deputies work overtime, their questions reveal many unsavory facts about the late teacher, including possible sexual involvement with his students and eventually proof that Jesse was a blackmailer. More murders and an ever-widening circle of suspects only increase Grover's fear that he will be unable to identify the bad guys before Marcellus becomes the next victim. Armistead maintains a taut, tension-fraught pace as Grover and his deputies race against time. Strong characters and excellent plotting distinguish this page-turner. Stuart Miller
"Armistead beautifully portrays a small place where it's very hard to keep a secret outside the grave."
--The Washington Times
"A superb thriller that succeeds on all levels...This one will keep you up well past bedtime."