Starvation Lake is a small community in Michigan with many elderly residents. Monday night bingo is a main source of entertainment and gossip.
Someone has been breaking into the homes of some elderly residents on Monday nights. Up to now, they didn't seem to be taking anything. However, Gus Carpenter, editor of the "Pilot" learns that his mother's home has been broken into. Her friend and neighbor was there taking care of her and the neighbor was killed.
With small town politics, the sheriff is running for re-election and his competitor is using the break-ins and murder for a reason that people should not vote for the sheriff but for him.
The only clue about the home invader is the name of a former priest who had been at the local parish when a nun disappeared in 1944. After this comes out, news media and some officials wonder if the Catholic Church might have had something to do with the break-ins and murder.
Much of the novel's enjoyment comes from the narrative voice of Gus Carpenter. There is also good use of dialog with many scenes being so visual that the reader easily can see themselves as part of the story.
There is a secondary plot in the story where the town is heading toward a possible state hockey championship and one of the players becomes a pawn for a religious group.
This is a well written, smoothly plotted mystery novel with good characterizations and an interesting plot.
The Skeleton Box: A Starvation Lake Mystery is the third book in the series and opens in March 2000 with somebody breaking into houses in Starvation Lake on bingo nights. Despite the break-ins, the victims report that nothing has been taken. The motive as well as the identity or identities of those involved remain a mystery. Pine County Sheriff Dingus has no suspects and the town is on edge. Then, apparently in the course of a break-in, a murder happens and for Gus his life will change … more