The Hinkletown Treasure: Love, Loss and Discovery in Rural Michigan
John Hazard Forbes
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Love, Loss and Discovery in Rural Michigan
Hinkletown, Michigan, 1974: Renaissance masterworks turn up in a rural parsonage. As the discovery roils the art world, townspeople grapple with their criminal past, tragic losses, and suppressed memories of a ghastly August day in 1941.
• Major 1970s characters:
Richard James Necker, 18, novel’s narrator. An undersized genius, he is good-looking, clever, highly educated, and sexually audacious. Richard discovers the Renaissance drawings – twice ̶ and unearths the turmoil churning beneath humdrum Hinkletown.
Miss Harriet Hinkle, 54, stylish, still-pretty local heiress. She reigns as Hinkletown’s doyenne. Right-minded and generous ̶ if sometimes grandiose ̶ Harriet endures a heartbreaking double secret.
Suzie Clark, 26, Hinkletown hairdresser. Street smart and sexy, she knows about the masterpieces early on and stage-manages the discovery. Suzie and Richard are covert lovers, tormented by knowing they must part.
Dr. Bill Necker, 48, Richard’s father. A fine doctor, he might have enjoyed a wider career. Sadly, his dead father’s hidden sins keep Bill tethered to Hinkletown.
Louella Brown, 39, Hinkle and Necker family friend. While the only black person in Hinkletown, she is very much an insider. Sharp, funny, and no-nonsense, the half-remembered events of Louella’s sixth birthday underlie the mystery.
Rev. Philip Steel, 23, recently ordained minister. Markedly callow, he arrives in Hinkletown to take up the one struggling church. Tortured by guilt and inadequacy, he flees Hinkletown into an assumed identity.
Mom Kibby, 57, lifelong Hinkletown resident. She and her husband, Pop Kibby, own the diner. Mom knows much but talks little about Raspy, a shady soda pop venture once operated in a warehouse outside town. Although devout, Mom avoids her only child’s early death by pretending the girl is alive.
Ed Cranner, 44, a former Marine sergeant and now owner of the local lumberyard. Inadvertently funny, Ed’s stalwart nature takes people and events at face value.
George Orr, 67, part-time handyman and full-time crank, his crackpot personality hides a skillful blackmailer.
Constance Hanks, 42, lowly curator at the Detroit Institute of Art. She is first to recognize the artwork’s importance yet the museum world turns against her.
Uncle Toby, 13, indolent, scheming, and orange in color with a magnificent tail, he considers himself Hinkletown’s secret sovereign. Uncle Toby sometimes takes over as narrator.
The Civil War Monument, 104, eight feet tall and solid bronze. On guard at Hinkletown’s one intersection, this silent soldier can inspire terror in the weak and witless.
The Mirror Man, age undetermined. Snide and often cruel, he emerges from the shadows within an old pier mirror to speak the unspeakable.
The Watcher, ancient as death. The Watcher peers down on Hinkletown from the abandoned warehouse attic, ever smiling, smiling, smiling.
• Major 1940s characters:
Nicky di Roma, 30, Raspy distributor. Strikingly attractive, his disappearance in the months before Pearl Harbor kept locals wondering for three decades. How he suddenly reappears sends Hinkletown reeling.
Dr. Horace T. Necker, middle aged, made a fortune as doctor to America’s richest families. Only his son, Bill Necker, knows the gruesome truth about Horace Necker’s real career.
Floyd Hinkle, middle aged, Harriet’s rich father and Horace Necker’s politically powerful crony. Harriet agonizes over Floyd’s cryptic deathbed prophecy.
Irene Hinkle, middle aged, Harriet’s ladylike mother. Although capable of great kindness, her upper-class manners cannot hide her snobbery. Irene’s heart softens toward an outsider but she is too late to divert the tragedy awaiting her daughter.
"Poignant, sexy, funny, and insightful with a remarkable knowledge of both small-town American and the larger world of international art."
This book has adult content unsuitab