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Mystery Review    

Past Tense
By Bob Levy
Sunstone Press, 2002         
Hardcover, $24.95 (267 pages)
ISBN: 0-86534-341-1

Memphis, Tennessee is a place of atmosphere, old traditions and unique characters, much as one would find in any old landmark city of the South.  Bob Levy, in his new book, Past Tense, explores that uniqueness as he progresses in the telling of a mystery that occurred many years ago. 

By doing so, Mr. Levy has a vehicle to go back in time with, exploring old restaurants, such as his Davis White Spot, or Lipford’s Candy Store, or tells us of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Buffalo nickels, soda fountains, and Black Cows (which was a drink, by the way.)  Montages of the old Peabody Hotel of days gone by with the “Clyde McCoy Orchestra belting out the big-band sounds of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller” are reveled in.

And today, the police station in downtown Memphis, with it’s cynical contemporary cops, the hospitals with white-coated doctors using experimental procedures, Oak Hall stores, Poplar Avenue, Southern, Central: all the places one would frequent today--that stand in stark contrast to earlier times, simpler times, easier times in which to live, are dissected and looked at. 

The murder in the story happened back in the forties and was witnessed by two teens, who are run off the road by the murderer, who perish and are thus, disposed of.  Go ahead many years…the murderer is now a contender for the presidency of the United States.   The two witnesses who died in the forties are reincarnated in two different people who happen to come upon each other in a trial medical clinic, and who share memories of past lives.  When they realize this, they find an old cop who recalls that time, and wham!  You have a group of folks out to uncover the old murder done by the presidential contender.   

Only now, with his new power, he can make things unpleasant for them all—very unpleasant indeed.  And does.


Robert L. Hall
Southern Scribe Reviews


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