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Impulse Hardcover – Jun 1 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (June 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590582837
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590582831
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 14.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"There are two kinds of old folks, those like you and me, who resent the stereotype, and the rest who are the stereotype." Nov. 10 2006
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the six best mysteries of 2006, Impulse involves the reader in two mysteries, one recent, and one from twenty-five years earlier. Frank Meredith Smith, returning to Scott Academy, his Baltimore boarding school, for his fiftieth reunion, has been under suspicion at his Arizona home for four years, ever since his wife Sandy disappeared without a trace. The author of mystery stories and of a successful TV series, Frank has mixed feelings about this reunion. A "Campus Kid," whose father was a well-loved English teacher at Scott, Frank loved the freedom of exploring the 900-acre campus, but he also suffered the loss of his older brother Jack as a direct result of an incident at Scott.

His return to campus is greeted enthusiastically by Brad Stark, Director of Development, who is hoping that he will persuade Frank to make a considerable donation to the school. To keep Frank interested in the school, Stark persuades Frank to investigate and possibly write about the disappearance of four twelve-year-olds who had been part of the 25th reunion class.

The action cuts from scene to scene, sometimes without transitions, as the author presents characters in action. The reader must often fill in the blanks regarding when, where, and who is involved in some of these short scenes, but eventually all connect to the central mysteries. While Frank is in Baltimore, police detectives in Arizona unearth new information about his wife's death. In a conversation with Frank, his daughter Barbara betrays her own uncertainty about her father's role in her mother's disappearance. In the meantime, Rosemary Mitchell, an old friend and fellow "Campus Kid," becomes Frank's assistant investigating the disappearances of the four young boys--or was it five?

The novel is beautifully paced, with both mysteries unfolding simultaneously and keeping the reader constantly involved with the action. Frank is a sympathetic main character, and his daughter Barbara's questions about her mother's death and her father's possible role in it are natural and understandable. Rosemary Mitchell, as Frank's 66-year-old companion, is realistic, not at all Miss Marple-ish, and the complications of the 25-year-old case provide plausible twists regarding the disappearances of the four young boys. Though the writing is not always smooth and the use of transitions between some of the scenes might make the action a bit easier to follow, the mysteries and their resolutions are top-notch. n Mary Whipple
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
entertaining cerebral mystery July 5 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One morning mystery writer Frank Smith's wife went out walking, but never returned home. The police especially the detective in charge believe he killed her for the insurance money. The cops never pursued any other potential suspects concentrating exclusively on Frank.

The writer attends his fiftieth prep school reunion in Maryland having not been on the campus since he graduated because his brother committed suicide after being expelled from there after an accusation by another student. At the school Frank meets his childhood sweetheart Rosemary. The two seniors hit off romantically. Frank is challenged to solve a mystery that has haunted the school for twenty-five years. A group of boys were seen entering Old Oak Woods, but never came out. Frank and Rosemary search the records and interview people when his wife's body is found. Sergeant Ledezma digs deep to prove Frank killed her.

IMPULSE is an entertaining cerebral mystery that contains two simultaneously running investigative subplots. Frederick Ramsey effortlessly guides his audience back and forth between the police inquiry and Frank's prep school case keeping readers' attention on both. The protagonist proves that life continues in spite of the clouds hanging over him and his advancing years. Mr. Ramsey tells a strong tale that keeps fans guessing whether Frank did it or not until the final moment.

Harriet Klausner
A good read that fell short April 25 2014
By Jim Grinstead - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book and I started out in audio while on a trip to Oklahoma. Unfortunately the trip was shorter than the narration, but I was hooked, so I got the Kindle version to finish it.

Impulse is a good read. It's well paced, but not a barn-burner. It is credible with good characters and is a good read. No spoilers here, but the ending was disappointing. Both the plot and subplot were resolved with little fanfare or excitement. The author just wrapped things up and went home.

Still, reading is about the journey, not the destination and I'm glad I took the trip.
One of a kind! Dec 18 2013
By Mountain Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Loved this mystery! It's wonderful having an older protagonist, who manages to solve a 25-year-old mystery that nobody else could solve. Also enjoyed the conversations between Smith and his lady friend about how old people have to fight against becoming the stereotype old person. I guess in that, Ramsay sort of put my thoughts into print.

Normally, I stick with historical fiction and mysteries, because I don't like stories with the Mafia, dirty cops, gang wars, drug rehab plots, thugs with guns killing every third person mentioned in the book, and all of the violence that is in so many stories that take place today. I think it's much more challenging to write a real mystery about a "normal" person who makes a wrong decision and things to from bad to worse, or to write about an average person with his own personal mystery hanging over his head. It seemed as if Ramsay wrote this book specially for me! Couple of good, clean mysteries, protagonists with a few years on them (like me), nice setting, no gunfire on stage. A more cerebral mystery.

I read a couple of the Ike Schwartz books, but I think this must be one of Ramsay's best, from my point of view.

Being into history, I'm soon to purchase The Eighth Veil, which takes place in ancient Jerusalem. I expect to enjoy it--no guns, no drugs, no Crips, no Mafia.

Thanks, Mr. Ramsay, for giving us a selection of types of stories.
Masterful Mystery! Aug. 23 2011
By Judith Lindenau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Yesterday I didn't know who Frederick Ramsay was. Today I've finished the first of many books I will read that he has written--what a pleasant surprise to discover this knowledgeable, polished writer.

To begin with, Frederick Ramsay is a skilled prose craftsman. He knows how to construct a graceful sentence, set a meaningful scene, create characters who have depth and human-ness, and tangle two plot lines which merge and become one. I enjoyed the setting as well--all the more because it described my own backyard of Northwestern Michigan (Benzie and Leelanau Counties) and the people who live here--as well as the visitors we experience in the form of tourists and seasonal residents.

And finally it's enjoyable because the main character, Frank Smith, is of my age (old!!!) with all the attendent creaks and groans and fears. Frank also doesn't undergo any of the typical trite conventions of the current crop of detectives--he isn't run off the road by a large black truck and he doesn't get in a slugfest (well, almost not) with the town drunks.

He does return to his 50th class reunion, discover an old flame, and solve the mystery of the disappearance of four students some 25 years before.

Enjoyable. Erudite. In fact, "Impluse" is masterful. I recommend it.

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