Ft. Larned Incident: A Tay-Bodal Mystery

Mardi Oakley Medawar, Author Minotaur Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-20878-3
Looking back on his younger days on the Plains, circa 1870, Kiowa doctor and sometime sleuth Tay-bodal focuses as much on tribal customs as he does on murder and attempted murder in his fourth appearance (after Murder at Medicine Lodge). Tay-bodal is having trouble with his feisty wife, Crying Wind. Although they are still madly in love after two years of marriage, a series of misunderstandings leads to their temporary divorce. Tay-bodal is soon distracted from his personal problems, however, by the death of Three Elks, whose throat has been slit. Part of the Rattle Band, a special group within the tribe, Three Elks knew that certain members of the group considered Crying Wind wasted on Tay-bodal and welcomed the couple's estrangement. After Cheyenne Robber, a notorious womanizer, gets stabbed in the chest, Tay-bodal finds himself following an intricate trail of jealousy and rivalry that seems to end when first one victimized woman, then another, confesses to the crimes. The skeptical Tay-bodal is able to prompt the real killer to own up only many years later, when chance brings all the principal survivors together and the truth no longer hurts so much. While Tay-bodal's modesty and humor make him an agreeable narrator, his digressions on medicine and a host of other subjects with little relevance to the plot undercut suspense. Students of Indian lore may be intrigued, but those who care about well-paced action won't be. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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