Friday, October 19, 2007

Murder by Serpents-Barbara Graham

Murder by Serpents
Barbara Graham
Five Star, Nov 2007, $25.95
ISBN 9781594145902

Sheriff Tony Abernathy left the big city to move to the small Eastern Tennessee town of Silervsille in Park County; a place where serious crime just never takes place. That is until now. Tony is called to the parking lot of Ruby’s Café where he finds the bloated body of a man handcuffed to the steering wheel with a rattlesnake and a copperhead loose inside the vehicle. A driver’s license identifies the victim as John Mize, who is a shirttail relation to local Quentin Mize, a part-time resident of Tony’s jail.

The victim turns out not to be a choir boy having a record as long as the nearby mountains. John also preached at an abandoned motel; insisting he found Jesus in prison. He used snakes to affirm his faith in the Lord. However, Tony finds the cages contain false bottoms filled with Oxycontin and plenty of money. He also believes that the deceased is really Harold Usher Brown, John’s cellmate in prison, who had a connection with Ruby; now that he is dead she believes she will never know the location of what he took from her. This not the only homicide Tony investigates; body parts have been all over town making identification extremely difficult. Tony knows the eccentric townsfolk break the law all the time, but their crimes are so minor law enforcement doesn’t even blink, just ignores them for the most part. However, someone has turned to MURDER BY SERPENT and more but who remains a mystery.

Anyone who enjoys reading a different kind of police procedural will appreciate this fine regional murder mystery filled with quirky characters like a man in love with a vending machine and the mom and aunt of the protagonist driving him crazy with their secrets. The cast makes MURDER BY SERPENT entertaining besides those already mentioned; there is the hero’s wife ready to help him because she worries about him getting hurt; her quilters ready to stitch the clues together at her command, and the deputy who compromises crime scenes by puking. Barbara Graham provides an entertaining Tennessee tale with one question not answered – any ties to Johnny “the Big Cat” Mize?

Harriet Klausner

1 comment:

safasf said...

去年下半年以來的 酒店工作金融海嘯,不僅讓市井小民壓力沉重, 酒店上班就連專營高檔客層的精品商家,也都面臨不小的壓力, 寒假打工

隨著股市、房市 暑假打工的熱絡氣象,外界預期一些辛苦經營的精品店面、 酒店PT商圈,將順勢而起,不過,熟悉大台北商圈的欣元商仲總經理焦文華直言,目 禮服酒店前精品業者的經營還相當艱困,景氣反轉的力道並不如外界預期。

焦文華分析,精品商圈 兼差的經營,確實還是面臨消費力不足的困境。目前消費者物價指數已連續兩個月負成長(六、七月份),具體反映出消費力衰退的現象,高檔的珠寶、手錶、服飾等精品市場感受更深,部分店家業績 打工,更是過去高峰期的三分之一,業者稱得上是「苦撐待變」。

永慶店面事業部 台北酒店經紀經理李元鳳表示,精品商圈在金融海 酒店經紀嘯中確實面臨很大的壓力,且當時都無法預期景氣何時好轉 酒店打工,耗費數百萬元的裝潢成本,更迫使業者無法輕言放棄。以當時的天母SOGO商圈為例,就算距離天母SOG 酒店兼差O百貨的開幕已經不到半年的時間,但周邊店面的空置率仍高達二十%,顯示屋主與業者都存有濃厚的觀望心態,這 酒店兼職與過去市場會提前反映利多現象有顯著差異。



徐佳馨表示,從空置率數據來看,與去年狀況極差的第四季相比 酒店,精品商圈的空置率都出現明顯的下降,但由於各界對於景氣是否反彈仍有疑慮,因此就算租金與售價已開始蠢動,但是否能夠真實反映市場實況,仍存有許多變數。