THE GIRL ON THE BRIDGE: A MCCABE AND SAVAGE THRILLER

 

In 2001, college freshman Hannah Reindell was the victim of a horrifying sexual assault. Twelve years later, tormented by the nightmare of that crime, she commits suicide. And now, somebody is going to pay for her tragic death.

“The Girl On The Bridge” is Portland author James Hayman’s fifth mystery, following “The Girl In The Glass.” Here, he dishes up a classic mystery formula — rape, suicide, revenge and murder — but the result is a predictable plot, too easily figured out.

After a slow, plodding start, Hayman brings in his two favorite Portland homicide detectives, Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage, a formidable crime-fighting duo with a little zest on the side. Now it is March 2014, and the cops are notified of a suspicious missing person, a smarmy New York City real estate developer in town to seal a deal on an unwelcome waterfront condo development.

When the victim’s wife shows up and produces a shocking computer image of her husband, the cops now think he is not missing, but is a prisoner, and probably dead. McCabe and Savage uncover other clues that lead them to a mysterious seductress and the startling fact that the victim went to college with Hannah.

Another suspicious death convinces the detectives to move faster, but McCabe makes some incredibly stupid decisions that jeopardize their investigation and cost valuable time and solid leads. Everything points the police to just one obvious suspect, but the reader will quickly see what is really going on.

If not for his partner’s savvy insight and timely support, McCabe would have blown the case early on. Still, Hayman’s crafty suspense is less on whodunnit, but rather on how will McCabe and Savage figure it all out without getting themselves killed.

EAGLE ISLAND: ADMIRAL PEARY’S HARPSWELL HOME

 

Long before Admiral Robert E. Peary discovered the North Pole in 1909, he found Eagle Island, two miles offshore from Harpswell.

“Eagle Island” is one of Arcadia Publishing’s most recent volumes in its “Images of America” series. The two Maine authors, Elizabeth O’Connell and Stephen Harding, tell the delightfully warm and human story of Eagle Island as Peary’s home, a restful place far from the frigid, forbidding Arctic.

This is not a tale of Arctic exploration and adventure. Rather, it is a story about a man, his family and his home, and how Eagle Island became a State of Maine Historical Site.

Peary, a Bowdoin College graduate, bought Eagle Island in 1881, finally building a home there in 1904. As the authors relate, Peary wanted an ocean sanctuary, and he found it on the 17-acre island. They tell of the home’s unique construction, additions and amenities over the years, and about the joy the Peary family felt living on this private island.

Because of its exposure to the Atlantic Ocean, the house was surrounded by thick stone bastions, the structure resembling the prow of a ship with its bridge wings (Peary was, after all, a naval officer). The house was supplemented with a cistern for water, an ice house, a pump house and a library containing 800 books. A solar pool provided warm seawater for swimming.

Island caretakers were men who served with Peary on the S.S. Roosevelt during several of his Arctic voyages. Numerous black and white photographs show Peary and his family and friends enjoying the place Peary called his “Promised Land.”

For more interesting reading about Admiral Peary, see “True North: Peary, Cook and the Race to the Pole” by Bruce Henderson (W.W. Norton, 2005).

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.