cover image Mississippi Vivian: A Ted Stephens Mystery

Mississippi Vivian: A Ted Stephens Mystery

Clyde Wilson, Bill Crider, . . Five Star, $25.95 (235pp) ISBN 978-1-59414-874-3

Anthony-winner Crider's laconic down-home humor suffuses his colorful second collaboration with celebrated Texas PI Clyde Wilson, who died in 2008 (after 2007's Houston Homicide ). In the summer of 1970, a possible insurance scam takes Houston PI Ted Stephens to Losgrove, Miss., where he meets Mississippi Vivian, a waitress at the Magnolia Café, the town's nerve center. A corporate client, the National Insurance Company, is skeptical of 12 suspicious claims originating from Losgrove. Ted asks Mississippi for her help, but the possibly self-inflicted shooting death of one of the claimants, Perce Segal, at the house of another claimant, Wade Dickie, complicates his mission. What should be a simple case of insurance fraud becomes increasingly more sticky when Wade turns up dead only a couple of hours after Ted had a fight with Wade. The authors get the Southern atmosphere and period details right in this funny, country-fried mystery. (Apr.)