Where Armadillos Go To Die
A Jeremiah Spur Mystery by James Hime
Review: Retired Texas Ranger Jeremiah Spur is drawn into the investigation of a restaurant owner gone missing in Where Armadillos Go To Die, the outstanding third mystery in this series by James Hime.
Sylvester Bradshaw owns one of the most popular restaurants in Washington County, Texas. His catfish always tastes clean and fresh, and customers from as far away as Houston, even people who don't like the cantankerous man, show up to dine there. His secret: a machine that removes impurities from the fish. But he's ultra-secretive about the device, refusing to market or even license it. When he — and his invention — disappears one evening, his sons don't seem all that worried. But his daughter is, asking Jeremiah to look into what might have happened.
The great appeal of Where Armadillos Go To Die is in its narrative style that seems to perfectly capture living and working in a small town in Texas. It's homey, at times a bit quirky, and always enjoyable. The richly drawn characters — and there are quite a few of them — are as varied as the landscape of ranchland is not, and include infomercial king Big Ty Daniels ("known the world over for his gridiron feats and his toaster oven"); Robert Bruni, an attorney from Houston who seems to know more than he lets on; Clyde Thomas, a security salesman and part-time PI looking for his big break; and Jeremiah's wife Martha, a gentlewoman who's the very definition of the word.
About the only weakness in Where Armadillos Go To Die is that it really isn't much of a mystery. The plot gently rolls along, steady and sure, but the surprises are few, the outcome long foreshadowed. Still, everything else about the book is so well done that it's well worth accompanying Jeremiah Spur on his investigation into the circumstances surrounding the missing inventor.
The title is taken from the lyrics of a fictional country song that "tended to put Jeremiah in mind of Washington County itself", the last verse of which goes ...
Lord give me the grace
'Fore we meet face to face
Without so much as a sigh
My fate in Your hands
To accept like a man
Where armadillos go to die.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Where Armadillos Go To Die for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Where Armadillos Go To Die: Texas
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Where Armadillos Go To Die by James Hime — A Jeremiah Spur Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: November 2009
List Price: $25.99