Friday, July 25, 2008

Death Books a Return-Marion Moore Hill

Death Books a Return
Marion Moore Hill
Pemberley, Sep 2008, $17.95
ISBN: 9780977191369

Wyndham, Oklahoma librarian Juanita Wills is writing a history of the town when her research comes across the cold case murder of back teenager Luther Dunlap in 1959. She is elated to have found a witness to the homicide as the victim’s best friend almost fifty years ago Samuel Davis agrees to talk to her. However, when she goes to his home in nearby Bryson Corner, no one answers her.

Later she learns Samuel died from corn cockle poison in bread left by eccentric reticent Grace Hendershot. As she keeps digging, her boyfriend police lieutenant Wayne Cleary warns her to not get involved as some people want the segregated abusive past left buried. He proves right when someone tries to shoot her or her walking companion and tinkered with a tilt ride that hospitalizes Juanita. However, the intrepid “scrappy librarian” refuses to close the book on her amateur sleuthing until she solves the 1950s killing, the modern day murder, and a few relationship enigmas.

This engaging cozy explores race relations then and now as Marion Moore Hill makes the case that though we have come a long way yet in some ways Otis Redding remains right that “Everything still remains the same”; so we must work even harder at achieving equality. At times the mystery takes a back seat into the interrelationships between characters; not just interracial although that is the prime theme. Though the action overall is light in spite of two attempts on the heroine, fans will appreciate the second well written Scrappy Librarian tale (see Bookmarked for Murder).

Harriet Klausner