Mystery Series Reviews | A Show of Hands

A Show of Hands by David Crossman coverA SHOW OF HANDS
David Crossman, Winston Crisp #1

Manheim Community Library is featuring an author new to this library: David Crossman. The one book we had had not been catalogued and was not on a shelf, so I took it home to read it. I found Crossman to be a skillful murder mystery writer basing his mysteries in Maine. This series is just three books featuring Winston Crisp. Before I get into the review of the book itself, let me tell you just a bit about David Crossman.

Crossman is a best-selling author, playwright, lyricist – the list goes on. He elicits numerous chuckles as he lays out his murder mysteries, especially in the beginning chapters, as he describes the characters, their names, and their personalities. Most of the characters are in their 70s or older. Some are a bit quirky. Most of these septuagenarians congregate in the hardware store, the beauty parlor, and the pool hall. They have colorful names, like Mostly Sanborn, Stuffy Hutchin, Olaf Ingraham, and Pharty McPhersen. Crossman throws out phrases that could be classified as metaphors, similes, or analogies, which help add flavor to the story (“He’s as deaf as a post” and “they found her frozen . . . as a fish dinner”). So starts the story.

From France, we zoom to the coast of Maine, specifically an island off the coast, Penobscot Island. The murder victim is a young woman frozen solid in the quarry waters. The unofficial detective is Winston Crisp, in his 80s, a code breaker retired from the National Security Agency (NSA}. Crisp takes his residence in the boarding house of Mattie Gilchrist, his old friend from forever. Luther Kingsbury is island law enforcement, and Nate Gammadge is an investigator from the mainland. Many locals come to Winston’s aid to help solve the mystery. Then, of course, there’s the murderer. Winston Crisp does not agree that the young woman simply drowned and ended up frozen in the quarry. He sets off on the course of solving the crime, which results in putting himself in the path of the murderer.

Next up:  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)