by Robin Hathaway

St. Martin's Press, NY
Hardback available November 2001

An evil odor spurs Dr. Fenimore and his friends to hunt down a "practical joker" that carries some jokes too far.

The discovery of her photo dangling from the neck of a cow's carcass, causes dowager Lydia Ashley to ask Dr. Fenimore for help. "Someone is slowly and systematically trying to frighten me," she tells him, "and force me to sell my farm." Unable to leave his practice in Philadelphia, Fenimore sends his nurse, Mrs. Doyle, to stay with Lydia in south Jersey. While on a bird walk, someone takes a pot shot at Doyle, causing her to sprint to safety.

Back in the city, Fenimore has other problems. Members of a street gang stab Horatio, his teenage office assistant. Urged by Rafferty, his policeman buddy, to "Get the kid out of town!" Fenimore sends the boy down to the farm to join Doyle.

Despite the presence of Fenimore's entire office staff, the practical jokes continue, taking a turn for the worse. At one point a defective air hose results in the near drowning of Lydia's granddaughter, Susan. And later, Lydia's own life is threatened by someone tinkering with her cardiac medicine. Lydia's friends and neighbors are all under suspicion. Fenimore orders everyone back to Philadelphia, but no one pays any attention.

When Doyle is kidnapped, Fenimore joins the hunt for the "joker" in person, and learns the reason for the "jokes"--pirate treasure buried on Lydia's property. But to find the "pirate" who has been victimizing his patient, Fenimore must return to Philadelphia and the social whirl of the
aristocratic Main Line.

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©2003 Robin Hathaway