The Graves by Pamela Wechsler
Published by Minotaur Books, 326 pages, $26
In this follow-up to Pamela Wechsler’s Mission Hill, Abby Endicott returns to the Boston streets as the chief of the district attorney’s homicide unit. And Abby’s trademark energy is matched only by the sophisticated pace of the story crafted by Wechsler, a Tufts and Boston University Law grad who was a prosecutor before becoming a TV writer.
Abby’s the daughter of upper-crust Louisburg Square parents who don’t appreciate her work: It’s too gritty. But she surges forth, working on a case in which students from local colleges have been murdered. The prime suspect in the serial killings is a Harvard-educated son of a U.S. senator, who Abby discovers is hosting pimping-parties involving some of the victims who needed money.
Abby is also aiming to become district attorney, and the murder case entwines many of her relationships—professional and romantic. Wechsler presents these lively connections with wry wit, crafting a character who’s aware she’s a bad, elusive, often-unwisely-tempted girlfriend with an overspending habit at Saks Fifth Avenue, an image that sits uncomfortably beside her hard-driving persona at work. Abby experiences romantic surges toward a fellow upper-class man, Chip Aldridge, as her serious boyfriend’s long-ago drug record threatens to impede her career. Also jeopardizing her hopes of becoming the district attorney is Abby’s Brahmin mother, who ends up entangled in a dust-up of her own. Wechsler’s book is full of fascinating surprises, especially the results of the murder investigation.
From page 46: “Abigail, you look wonderful,” my mother says, “but I think it’s time to retire that blouse.”
She never misses the opportunity to critique my wardrobe, even when she’s three sheets to the wind.
Missy gives me a kiss. “I think you look fabulous, as always,” she says.
I gotta give Missy credit; six months into the marriage, and she’s already defying my mother. ◆