Mysterious spinster Rosa Lee Altman dies, leaving her home and property to the town of Clifton Creek, Texas. Two years later, its fate remains undecided, but most think the place should be sold for the largest sum possible. A committee is appointed to make the decision. A newcomer, professor Sidney Dickerson, is surprised to be chosen to be part of the process, even though she has a personal stake in the outcome.

Several odd events make one thing clear: Someone doesn't want the committee poking around in Rosa Lee's business. Oil man Sloan McCormick has been open about his desire to purchase the place—and to spend time with Sidney. But does he have more sinister motives?

Thomas moves the proceedings along briskly, providing chills and chuckles aplenty. Her willingness to go inside each character's head, exposing their flaws and virtues, makes this a good read. (Aug., 384 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer