I read the first book in this series, See Also Murder, just over a year ago, and I was very impressed with it. In the second book, Marjorie's best friend in the area, a librarian, commits suicide. At first it is a major shock to Marjorie to realize that her friend has been in enough pain to kill herself and that Marjorie was not aware of this. Then she slowly begins to suspect that the suicide was faked.
Marjorie is a strong character, and in this book her gutsiness and her determination are in full force. Background to this story is that although Marjorie and her husband are owners of a working farm, her husband Hank is a quadriplegic due to a hunting accident. All of the responsibilities of keeping the farm running in difficult times fall on her, plus the care of her husband. She has a few neighbors willing to help, but it is a constant struggle to pay the bills and get the work done. And on top of that, Hank's health has been gradually getting worse.
One way Marjorie pays the bills is by creating indexes for non-fiction books. It is this aspect of the book that drew me to the series from the beginning. I think indexes in books are wondrous things (if they are done right) and I can only imagine the work that goes into creating one. Marjorie's natural bent towards orderliness and list making, plus intelligence, make her perfect for that job. And it also makes her a perfect amateur detective. I am not usually a fan of amateur detectives but this series is very convincing and works for me.
I am not sure why, but I liked this book even better than the first one; maybe it was only because I was familiar with the characters and the setting. Some of the secondary characters are further developed in this entry in the series. Although the deaths were more graphic in the first book, the villain is just as intensely scary in this one. There is no way that this a cozy mystery series. Marjorie's isolation on a rural farm leaves her open to attacks and builds up the tension. I came closer to guessing the perpetrator in this one, but Sweazy did a great job of distracting me and keeping me guessing.
This is a wonderful picture of the 1960's in rural North Dakota. The secondary role of women in society at that time is explored. I was a teenager in these times, in a big city in the southern US. I remember the impact of John F. Kennedy's assassination during those years. It was eye opening to read about a totally different part of the country at that time.
Links to other reviews and an interview:
- At Col's Criminal Library
- An interesting review by an indexer at Wells Read Editing
- And an interview with the author at Beautiful Feet (by the same indexer)
Larry D. Sweazy (pronounced: Swayzee) is the author of twelve novels, including two Western series and two standalone novels (see the list at Fantastic Fiction). He has two new novels coming in 2017, a third Marjorie Trumaine mystery, See Also Deadline, and another standalone, Where I Can See You.
Publisher: Seventh Street Books, 2016.
Length: 237 pages
Format: Trade paperback
Series: Marjorie Trumaine #2
Setting: North Dakota
Source: I purchased my copy.