See Also Deception
A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery by Larry D. Sweazy
Review: Was musk thistle a perennial plant or a biennial plant? Professional indexer Marjorie Trumaine feels she should know, after all, musk thistle grows all around her North Dakota farm, but the answer eludes her. Calling her close friend Calla Eltmore, the local librarian, she's surprised when a deputy answers the phone; Calla is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, in See Also Deception, the second mystery in this series by Larry D. Sweazy.
Marjorie is devastated. With her blind, quadriplegic husband slowly fading from her life, Calla offered stimulating intellectual conversations on the wide range of topics that typically crossed her desk. And now she was gone. Attending the wake, an open casket affair that Marjorie finds most unusual, she notes that the coroner has done a good job of repairing the damage to Calla's head … but the wrong side of her head is damaged; Calla was right-handed yet she apparently shot herself using her left hand. Marjorie immediately tells the police, but they seem curiously uninterested. She later accidentally runs into a woman, another friend of Calla's, who also claims to know that Calla couldn't have killed herself, but she seems to have other, more important to her, issues to deal with. Puzzled why those who knew Calla personally know that a verdict of suicide must be wrong and concerned that everyone else seems to readily accept it as fact, Marjorie is determined to learn the truth.
The previous (and first) book in this series was outstanding in every respect, and while this second entry is very good, it simply pales in comparison. Relatively short at just over 200 pages, the murder, Marjorie's investigation, and its resolution could be compressed into something less than 50 pages leaving over three-quarters of the book as tangential filler. Much of this is setting, the plains of North Dakota in late Fall 1964, bleak pending the onset of winter. Atmospheric, to be sure, but there are only so many ways to describe it before it gets repetitive. Large portions of the story are also devoted to Marjorie's husband's declining health. Both are important to the series character as backdrop, but are not relevant to the murder itself. The whodunit, if not the whydunit, is easily guessed at early on, and though Marjorie seems to know it too, she's justifiably too preoccupied with other matters to pursue it. Marjorie's job as an indexer comes into play during her investigation, but only peripherally; it would have been better had she put the pieces together logically from her observations rather than have the denouement unfold pretty much without her involvement. Despite what must seem to be an abundance of apparent negatives, See Also Deception really is rather enjoyable as a period mystery, its appeal mostly in the form of the stoic character of Marjorie Trumaine and the often lyrical narrative that immerses the reader into her world.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided an ARC of See Also Deception for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Thousand Falling Crows
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), May 2015
ISBN-13: 9781633880849; ISBN-10: 1633880842
Location(s) referenced in See Also Deception: North Dakota
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See Also Deception by Larry D. Sweazy — A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2016
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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