The Drop Edge of Yonder
An Alafair Tucker Mystery by Donis Casey
Review: The third mystery in the Alafair Tucker series by Donis Casey, The Drop Edge of Yonder, concerns the shooting death of Alafair's young brother-in-law, Billy, the attempted murder of her daughter, Mary, and disappearance of Billy's fiancée. On a beautiful August day in 1914, four young people take a ride down the pike. All of a sudden a shot is fired. Teenager Ruth, another daughter of Alafair, hastily turns her horse around and gallops away for help. More shots are fired but no one knows where they are coming from. Mary sees her Uncle Billy fall from his horse. Then she feels a bullet graze her head just above her ear. She, too, falls from her horse and immediately passes out. When she wakes, she crawls to Billy and finds him dead. When the sheriff and her parents find Mary, she is lying on her back in the grass, saying, "This has something to do with the 4th of July." Her head wound compromises Mary's memory and it takes time for the thoughts locked in her brain to surface. Laura, the 4th member of the party, is found a couple of days later by her father. She has been brutally beaten from head to toe, and is virtually comatose. There are no clues or explanations as to why these young people were fired upon. So begins this excellent mystery with Alafair leading the way.
After Billy's funeral in the family plot, Mary starts a journal so if anything comes to her mind she can write it down and not forget it. The only thing she really believes is that it had something to do with the 4th of July. Alafair doesn't know how she can help the sheriff, but she is going to try. No one is going to hurt another member of her family if she can help it. She has a way of talking to people so that they are unaware they are being interrogated. She learns from Billy's friends that he had a couple of arguments with friends, especially on the 4th of July but they did not believe any one would want to see him dead. Alafair decides to take a look in Mary's journal, only to find that she is just about ready to remember, and maybe identify the killer. When Mary realizes her mother has read her journal, she asks, "Do you expect there's a part of a person that's connected right to the truth of things? A part that's half way between this world and the next – that's standing on the drop edge of yonder?"
This is such an enjoyable book that the last chapter comes far too quickly. The mystery behind the murder of Billy is indeed a puzzle until the very end. But there are also poignant stories about Alafair's family. She and her husband have twelve children, aged 2 to 23, and she tells us a story about each one. One of her boys turns 18 and for this family that is the most special birthday. They tell what they wish for their son's future, but most importantly, he tells them what he wants to accomplish as an adult. The author also tells of their home life and the joys (and problems) of raising twelve youngsters in a small farmhouse. The reader learns about their farm, with horses, cows, chickens, a not so nice rooster, and a cotton field that needs picking every year.
The Drop Edge of Yonder is one of those exceptional books that can be savored now and when read again will retain much of its wonder and joy. It's one of the best mysteries of the year.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Drop Edge of Yonder.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of The Drop Edge of Yonder for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Sky Took Him
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), January 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590585719; ISBN-10: 1590585712
Location(s) referenced in The Drop Edge of Yonder: Oklahoma
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The Drop Edge of Yonder by Donis Casey — An Alafair Tucker Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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