cover image The Old Buzzard Had It Coming: An Alafair Tucker Mystery

The Old Buzzard Had It Coming: An Alafair Tucker Mystery

Donis Casey, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-149-0

Life on the Oklahoma frontier in 1912 was anything but easy, yet Casey's sweet-tempered debut manages to make readers nostalgic for simpler times. Running a successful farm is hard work, and on the Tucker farm everyone in the family has a job to do, under the proud watchful eyes of father Shaw and mother Alafair. So when the town bully is found dead in the snow and one of the Tucker girls might be involved in the murder, Alafair pours all her considerable energy into uncovering the truth. Of course, she'll eventually find it, for this mother of nine living children (two died young) "know[s] everything all the time." And that's the essential flaw in this otherwise admirable work—no surprises. The regular up-and-down cycles of the plot don't allow the tension to build beyond a certain point. New developments often occur offstage and the same details are rehashed too many times around too many kitchen tables. In every other respect, though, the appealingly homey world Casey creates rings true. With so much going for her, readers will be right pleased to see a sequel. (July 1)