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Scarecrow: A Mystery [Hardcover]

Robin Hathaway
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 7 2003 Jo Banks Mysteries (Book 1)
Briefly departing from her Doctor Fenimore stories, Robin Hathaway brings readers Dr. Jo Banks, a young female doctor practicing in Manhattan. When a little patient dies, Banks blames herself. Unable to face her life, she runs—leaving her lover, driving away from New York and through New Jersey without a destination on the highway or in her life. She stops at a motel, and that evening is called upon to treat a woman taken suddenly ill.

The episode leads the motel owner to present Jo with a deal. Neither he nor the other motel owners can afford to keep a doctor on hand, but it is sometimes difficult to get one to come out from the nearest city. What they need is a cooperative house doctor—someone who can quickly get to any of the nearby motels. How about it? Jo takes the deal—without knowing that it will involve her in a series of gruesome murders of itinerant farm workers.

Full of the wit, charm, and lively settings that have made Hathaway’s Doctor Fenimore series so popular, Scarecrow is sure to please.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In an intriguing departure from her Doctor Fenimore novels (The Doctor Digs a Grave, etc.), Hathaway launches a new series with an unusual heroine. Reeling from the death of a young patient, Dr. Jo Banks abandons her job in Manhattan and hits the road. She ends up at a New Jersey motel, where she treats a woman who becomes suddenly ill. Impressed, the motel owner offers Jo a deal. None of the motel operators in the area can afford to keep a doctor on staff full-time; she can live and keep an office at his motel in return for serving their needs. At first reluctant, Jo soon warms to the area and finds a number of puzzles to pique her interest. Who was the dead man found disguised as a scarecrow in a local farmer's field? And what is the story behind an odd girl who wants to run away to the big city? Tooling about on a motorcycle, Jo encounters more strange events and even murder, and her penchant for nosiness leads her into danger that could prove life-threatening. As the young physician integrates herself into the community, Hathaway convincingly portrays small-town and rural New Jersey life in an appealing, sometimes poignant story with low-key suspense and winning characters. FYI: The Doctor Digs a Grave won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

In a break from her popular Dr. Fenimore series, Hathaway introduces a compelling new physician-sleuth, twentysomething Jo Banks, who is wracked with guilt when a young patient dies. Impulsively fleeing Manhattan, she meanders into the small southern Jersey town of Bayside. Her first night at the decidedly unglamorous Oakview Motor Lodge initiates a series of implausible but highly entertaining adventures. First, Jo is called on to treat a violently ill woman in the next room. The woman and her husband skip out on their hotel bill, only to turn up later as houseguests of Jo's new friend, Becca, and her aunt. Meanwhile, a farmer finds that a scarecrow is actually a dead body in disguise. Deciding to stay in Bayside as "house" doctor for several small area hotels, Jo soon finds links between the shady couple and the scarecrow murder. As she befriends the locals, especially good-looking Tom Canby, Jo finds herself falling for the town and its inhabitants. An affectionate portrayal of small-town life. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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When I hit the Jersey Turnpike, I went into autopilot and the windshield fogged up with scenes I'd just as well forget. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Jo Banks becomes a motel doctor in NJ Dec 9 2003
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Jo Banks takes off leaving her Manhattan practice after she misdiagnoses a young girl and she dies. She has no destination in mind. She stops at a motel in remote New Jersey for the night. That night she is called up to treat a woman at the motel. The next morning she finds out they left the hotel in the dark of night without paying their bill.
The next morning Paul Nelson, the motel owner, offers Jo a job as a motel doctor. The motels have to have a doctor on call for emergencies, much like the previous night. She immediately turns down his offer.
After driving around, picking up a young girl who was hitchhiking - Becca, and finding herself back at the motel that evening, she finally decides to accept his offer. It takes her a little over a week to find someone to take over her office and get her ex-boyfriend to find someone to sublet her apartment.
Jo and Becca have become good friends, but her family is quite different. Jo believes their boarders are none other than the Milacs, the couple from her first night at the motel, and sets about trying to find out more about them.
She has run into Tom Canby, and keeps running into him. He even assists her in her investigation as she doesn't know the area as well.
When Becca mysteriously leaves town with her aunt, Jo is concerned something more sinister is going on. She steps up her investigation and ends up in danger.
Jo is a terrific character. I can just see her tooling around New Jersey on her motorbike. She is great with Becca and has fit right into life in remote New Jersey, but still misses Manhattan at times. I like the relationship with Tom as well. She is constantly putting him off but isn't quite sure why.
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Format:Hardcover
   Robin Hathaway is the author of three Doctor Andrew Fenimore novels: The Doctor Digs a Grave (1999), which won her an Agatha Award for Best First Novel); The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call (2001); and The Doctor and the Dead Man's Chest (2001).
   Dr. Fenimore, a thirtysomething bachelor, is an old-fashioned Philadelphia physician who still makes house calls and, often accompanied by Nurse Doyle, his assistant sleuth, dabbles in criminal investigation.
   With Scarecrow, Hathaway launches a new murder mystery series featuring Dr. Jo Banks, a female version of Doctor Fenimore. An almost-thirty-year-old woman, Jo is running away from the flotsam and jetsam of a botched career and a tired love affair. She abandons her practice in New York City when she misdiagnoses Sophie Miller, a young girl who dies of spinal meningitis.
   Numbed and anesthesized, Jo flees to Bayfield, a small town in the boondocks of southern New Jersey, about fifty miles from Philadelphia and in near the marshlands of the Cohansey River.
   Jo checks in at the Oakview Motor Lodge, a two-star motel owned and operated by Paul and Maggie Nelson. She soon meets a teenage girl named Becca Borovy; Ema, Becca's eccentric aunt; and (the plot thickens) a tall, dark, and handsome "Robin Hood" named Tom Canby.
   You know you're in the boonies when the nearest Wal-Mart is no closer than twenty miles away. South Jersey abounds in names such as Polecat Corner, Snakeskin Road, Crab's Neck Road, Possum Hollow Road, the Blue Arrow Diner, and the Lenape Trailer Park.
   Bayfield's one claim to fame is a nuclear power plant. Black against the sky, its cooling tower is a giant chimney spewing clouds of steam. Flashing lights circle its gaping mouth, warning airplanes to keep away.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Worse than the Dr. Fenimore series Aug. 8 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
If you think that Robin Hathaway's Dr. Fenimore series books seem like they're written by an 8th grader, wait until you read this one...and the "plot"--a doctor who lives in a motel in exchange for taking care of guests' illnesses??????? Give me a break--and give yourself one by not reading this book!
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars smooth and bloodless amateur sleuth tale April 12 2003
Format:Hardcover
When Dr. Jo Banks, a family practitioner with an office in a ritzy medical building, loses a patient due to a misdiagnosis, she can't handle the guilt. The fact that her patient was a child makes the pain all the more excruciating for Jo. She heads out of New York with no destination in mind, winding up in a dinky motel where she ends up treating one of the guests. The owner of the Oakview Motor Lodge, Paul Nelson, is so grateful that he asks her to serve as the region's on call motel doctor.
It doesn't her take to long to realize that she no longer wants to practice anymore in New York. She returns to break up with her boyfriend and sublet her apartment before going back to the Oakview Motor Lodge where she's given her own room and a cabin to make into a private office. She likes her work as a hotel doctor and is slowly building up her practice, making a place for herself in the community. When she is kidnapped, everyone from miles around gets involved in the search to find her.
The heroine is a truly fine doctor because she sees behind the business of medicine to its basic calling and the patients sense this and accept her. SCARECROW is a smooth and bloodless amateur sleuth tale where the doctor comes to the attention of some pretty shady people due to a believable set of circumstances. Robin Hathaway has created a winning series that will appeal to anyone who likes the author's delightful Doctor Fenimore cozies.
Harriet Klausner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Jo Banks becomes a motel doctor in NJ Dec 9 2003
By Dawn Dowdle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Jo Banks takes off leaving her Manhattan practice after she misdiagnoses a young girl and she dies. She has no destination in mind. She stops at a motel in remote New Jersey for the night. That night she is called up to treat a woman at the motel. The next morning she finds out they left the hotel in the dark of night without paying their bill.
The next morning Paul Nelson, the motel owner, offers Jo a job as a motel doctor. The motels have to have a doctor on call for emergencies, much like the previous night. She immediately turns down his offer.
After driving around, picking up a young girl who was hitchhiking - Becca, and finding herself back at the motel that evening, she finally decides to accept his offer. It takes her a little over a week to find someone to take over her office and get her ex-boyfriend to find someone to sublet her apartment.
Jo and Becca have become good friends, but her family is quite different. Jo believes their boarders are none other than the Milacs, the couple from her first night at the motel, and sets about trying to find out more about them.
She has run into Tom Canby, and keeps running into him. He even assists her in her investigation as she doesn't know the area as well.
When Becca mysteriously leaves town with her aunt, Jo is concerned something more sinister is going on. She steps up her investigation and ends up in danger.
Jo is a terrific character. I can just see her tooling around New Jersey on her motorbike. She is great with Becca and has fit right into life in remote New Jersey, but still misses Manhattan at times. I like the relationship with Tom as well. She is constantly putting him off but isn't quite sure why.
As Jo is finding herself and getting her self-confidence back, she is getting to know everyone and even has Thanksgiving dinner at the Nelson's. Their son took off some time ago. The not knowing is taking its toll on them.
This remote location in New Jersey is a terrific setting for a mystery.
I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next one! I got to meet Robin Hathaway last night. I gained additional insight into both of her series. Please read my review of her other new book "The Doctor Dines in Prague."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first volume in the Dr. Jo Banks murder mystery series Sept. 22 2003
By Roy E. Perry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
   Robin Hathaway is the author of three Doctor Andrew Fenimore novels: The Doctor Digs a Grave (1999), which won her an Agatha Award for Best First Novel); The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call (2001); and The Doctor and the Dead Man's Chest (2001).
   Dr. Fenimore, a thirtysomething bachelor, is an old-fashioned Philadelphia physician who still makes house calls and, often accompanied by Nurse Doyle, his assistant sleuth, dabbles in criminal investigation.
   With Scarecrow, Hathaway launches a new murder mystery series featuring Dr. Jo Banks, a female version of Doctor Fenimore. An almost-thirty-year-old woman, Jo is running away from the flotsam and jetsam of a botched career and a tired love affair. She abandons her practice in New York City when she misdiagnoses Sophie Miller, a young girl who dies of spinal meningitis.
   Numbed and anesthesized, Jo flees to Bayfield, a small town in the boondocks of southern New Jersey, about fifty miles from Philadelphia and in near the marshlands of the Cohansey River.
   Jo checks in at the Oakview Motor Lodge, a two-star motel owned and operated by Paul and Maggie Nelson. She soon meets a teenage girl named Becca Borovy; Ema, Becca's eccentric aunt; and (the plot thickens) a tall, dark, and handsome "Robin Hood" named Tom Canby.
   You know you're in the boonies when the nearest Wal-Mart is no closer than twenty miles away. South Jersey abounds in names such as Polecat Corner, Snakeskin Road, Crab's Neck Road, Possum Hollow Road, the Blue Arrow Diner, and the Lenape Trailer Park.
   Bayfield's one claim to fame is a nuclear power plant. Black against the sky, its cooling tower is a giant chimney spewing clouds of steam. Flashing lights circle its gaping mouth, warning airplanes to keep away.
   Immediately on her arrival in Bayfield, Jo treats a woman who becomes suddenly ill, and is offered a deal to become a "motel doctor," a person on call to serve the medical needs of various motels in the area.
   Having fallen in love with small-town life and the people of Bayfield, Jo accepts the offer. Breathing a sigh of relief to have escaped the urban rat race. Zooming around Bayfield on her newly purchased motorcyle, Jo is happy to have found a place so peaceful and serene, far from the violence of big-city life.
   But when a dead man is found disguised as a scarecrow in found in a local farmer's field, Jo discovers a serpent in the pastoral Eden. And, one can see it coming, she places her own life in jeopardy by playing the dubious role of "lone woman who courageously, but foolhardily, investigates a dark and deserted house." Like the scarecrow in her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, Jo desperately needs a brain.
   Scarecrow is an easy and enjoyable read. The chapters are short and the plot moves quickly. The dialogue is snappy, and the heroine, Dr. Jo Banks, is an engaging and likeable character. Above all, the author writes with a delectable sense of humor that will cause you to smile, chuckle, and laugh out loud.

A charming work of escapist fiction.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars smooth and bloodless amateur sleuth tale April 12 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When Dr. Jo Banks, a family practitioner with an office in a ritzy medical building, loses a patient due to a misdiagnosis, she can't handle the guilt. The fact that her patient was a child makes the pain all the more excruciating for Jo. She heads out of New York with no destination in mind, winding up in a dinky motel where she ends up treating one of the guests. The owner of the Oakview Motor Lodge, Paul Nelson, is so grateful that he asks her to serve as the region's on call motel doctor.
It doesn't her take to long to realize that she no longer wants to practice anymore in New York. She returns to break up with her boyfriend and sublet her apartment before going back to the Oakview Motor Lodge where she's given her own room and a cabin to make into a private office. She likes her work as a hotel doctor and is slowly building up her practice, making a place for herself in the community. When she is kidnapped, everyone from miles around gets involved in the search to find her.
The heroine is a truly fine doctor because she sees behind the business of medicine to its basic calling and the patients sense this and accept her. SCARECROW is a smooth and bloodless amateur sleuth tale where the doctor comes to the attention of some pretty shady people due to a believable set of circumstances. Robin Hathaway has created a winning series that will appeal to anyone who likes the author's delightful Doctor Fenimore cozies.
Harriet Klausner
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worse than the Dr. Fenimore series Aug. 8 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you think that Robin Hathaway's Dr. Fenimore series books seem like they're written by an 8th grader, wait until you read this one...and the "plot"--a doctor who lives in a motel in exchange for taking care of guests' illnesses??????? Give me a break--and give yourself one by not reading this book!
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