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GREEN GROW THE VICTIMS: A Hilda Johansson Mystery

Jeanne M. Dams, Author
Jeanne M. Dams, Author GREEN GROW THE VICTIMS: A Hilda Johansson MysteryHardcover - 236 pages - 978-1-57490-369-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-7366-8735-5
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In her third mildly pleasant encounter with villainy (after 2000's Killing Cassidy), full-time housekeeper and part-time sleuth Hilda Johansson suggests that "once upon a time" wasn't always what it was cracked up to be. Take turn-of-the-century America. Remember? Life was simpler. Men were men, women honored and obeyed, and you could beat the hell out of your kids. As described in Dams's novel, life 100 or so years ago in South Bend, Ind., was like being strapped into a behavioral corset that allowed little room to live and breathe. She is especially good at period detail, while her characters are very real. Immigrant families like the Johanssons worked long hours for little pay to bring their families from the old country. In this case, relatives of the man Hilda loves ask her to find Uncle Dan, the flamboyant Democratic candidate for the city council whom the police suspect of murder. Dan was last seen talking to the victim, his political rival. His blood-stained shillelagh was left next to the body. And the only eyewitness is the parish priest who swears it was Dan who did it. Hilda's wealthy employers allow her a week off with pay to find Uncle Dan. Her methods are largely guesswork, the plot thin and improbable. Dams's prose, however, moves smoothly along. This isn't a book for everyone, but if you want to know how to clean a sooty windowsill... (June 19)

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