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A Gail McCarthy Mystery by Laura Crum

Barnstorming by Laura Crum

Review: Laura Crum brings her mystery series featuring Gail McCarthy to a fitting and satisfactory close with Barnstorming, the now 50-year-old equine veterinarian pondering her future as she searches for a killer in her midst.

Gail is with Sunny, her palomino horse, riding on the trails through the picturesque hills she has always loved, wondering what to do during the rest of her life. She enjoys her career but isn't sure she wants to continue, as it takes her away from her family at all hours of the day and night. She meets up with Jane on her horse, Dolly, and stops for a brief chat. Other riders are out and about enjoying the day as well. Later she hears what she thinks is a gunshot, though it isn't hunting season. Maybe a poacher. Circling around she soon comes upon a body lying on the trail. It is Jane, a small hole in her chest, where she had been shot. Gail immediately calls her friend Detective Jeri Ward of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department, and while waiting for her to arrive, she tries to remember each of the people she met. There was Sheryl, Jonah, someone on a sorrel horse loping away, a bearded dirt bike rider, and a hiker with a dog and a machete. Oh yes, and there was an old camper parked behind a tree well off the road, but she doesn't recall seeing anyone there. Could one of these have people have killed Jane?

The books in this series are as much about Gail's love for her horses, the environment, and her friends and family as they are about crime. True, there is always a mystery to solve but almost as important to the narrative are the trails and hills and valleys that provide a beautifully painted backdrop to the investigation. This is a carefully crafted story, Gail being an amateur sleuth more inclined to thinking through a case and sifting through its clues to arrive at a solution, though not opposed to taking action when warranted.

This has been a very good series, one that has shown a strong progression for the character over the course of twelve books. What's next for Gail will have to remain a mystery for readers, but she is sure to enjoy whatever the next chapter in her life holds for her.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Barnstorming.

Acknowledgment: Perseverance Press provided an ARC of Barnstorming for this review.

Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …

Mystery Book Review: Going, Gone by Laura CrumGoing, Gone
Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback), April 2010
ISBN-13: 9781880284988; ISBN-10: 1880284987

Location(s) referenced in Barnstorming: California

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Barnstorming by Laura Crum

Barnstorming by A Gail McCarthy Mystery

Publisher: Perseverance Press
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-56474-508-8
Publication Date:
List Price: $14.95

Buy the Book (purchase options)

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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews

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