Written by Stephen L. Carter, New England White is the third work of fiction that I have read by the Yale University Law professor. I also read The Emperor of Ocean Park and Palace Council, and I wish I had stopped with those two.
Carter's a good writer, but right now, he limits himself to a certain type of novel, and I read these three all within the last year. What I found with New England White is that I felt like I had read it before and had just forgotten what happened -- that is how similar it was to his other two works.
I used to make it a rule not to do this -- not to read novels written by the same writer too close together, and I don't know why I subjected myself or judged Carter for my remiss, but I did. My mistake cheapened it for me, and instead of enjoying his wisdom, wit, and turn of phrase, I just found myself recognizing it and wishing for the lengthy novel to end.
Set in the university town of Elm Harbor, a professor's murder unearths a hidden secret of the town's past that interweaves with a prominent family with ties to Washington. Apparently, the murdered professor, Kellen Zant, had his hands on something that could "change the election."
At the center of the "past" is the university's president, Lemaster Carlyle, a man with far-reaching political connections, and his wife, Julia, who dated Zant years ago. When Julia attends Zant's funeral, a family member passes Julia a hand mirror that "Kellen wanted [her] to have" that leads her to determine, in an oddly cryptic way, that she holds the key to finding his murderer. As Julia puts the pieces together, she sees that what she's uncovering not only involves some "movers and shakers" but her own family.
I adored The Emperor of Ocean Park, but this one, not so much.