cover image Hornswoggled


Donis Casey, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (232pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-309-8

Set in the prairie town of Boynton, Okla., in the spring of 1913, Casey's nostalgic, folksy second novel to feature Alafair Tucker (after 2005's The Old Buzzard Had It Coming ) finds the full-time mother of 11 and part-time sleuth worried about one of her grown daughters, Alice. Alice is sweet on barber Walter Kelley, an attractive widower whom the determined and discerning Alafair mistrusts; Walter is just too popular with the ladies. Since Alice is set on having Walter, Alafair seeks distraction by investigating the unsolved murder of Louise Kelley, Walter's late wife, whose stabbed body surfaced in a creek bordering the Tucker farm eight months earlier. Dialogue rich with Midwestern speech patterns and a consistent, unobtrusive narrative voice lift this smalltown historical, which should particularly appeal to Margaret Maron fans. An appendix of down-home recipes is a bonus. (Sept.)