SWEET AND LOWDOWN: A Dorie Lennox Mystery
In this worthy sequel to One O'Clock Jump (2001), set in the fall of 1940, Britain stands alone against Hitler, FDR is making a bid for a third term as president and Nazi spies have infiltrated American political groups to promote isolationism. In Kansas City, PI Dorie Lennox and her partner, Amos Haddam, are tailing Thalia Hines, the wayward 21-year-old daughter of a prominent local family. (Not the least of this mystery's myriad pleasures is the author's tip of the hat to Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.) Dorie takes over investigating the men in Thalia's life after Amos becomes preoccupied with a refugee from London and a series of anonymous threats to the Negro League Monarchs baseball team the week before a postseason game against the KC Blues. When someone tries to kidnap Thalia and a dead body turns up, Dorie gets caught in the backlash. Meanwhile, as the pressure on the Monarchs builds, race riots may break out at any time. McClendon lightly handles all the threads, using a taut, staccato style that perfectly complements her edgy, skittish heroine. ("She lighted a Lucky and leaned against the wall by the ladies' lounge. She'd seen the inside of too many nightclubs. In the dark, where anything can happen, and usually did.") The author masterfully evokes the period, from details of dress to a rally for Wendell Willkie. This is a book to be savored—read it too fast and you might miss something. (July 15)
FYI:McClendon is also the author of Blue Wolf (Forecasts, July 23, 2001) and other titles in the Alix Thorssen mystery series.