Hell with the Lid Blown Off: An Alafair Tucker Mystery
Poisoned Pen, Jun 3 2014, $24.95
In 1916 in Boynton, Oklahoma cantankerous bully Jubal Beldon and his abusive brothers harass teenager Ruth Tucker. When Deputy Sheriff Trenton Calder learns of these miscreants bothering Ruth, he becomes irate as he likes her. Ruth receives piano lessons from widow music teacher Beckie MacKenzie; who has her Vanderbilt University grandson Wallace Mackenzie III and his school friend Randal Wakefield visiting her. Jubal accuses the two students of being lovers; neither denies his assertion.
A major tornado hammers town. Found dead afterward is Jubal, but; no one including his mom, brothers and sister, grieve his death. However, the undertaker claims he probably did not die from the twister; but instead someone murdered the nasty brute. His brothers plan to dole out justice Beldon style even as Ruth’s dad Sheriff Scott Tucker and Trenton investigate the homicide in which Beckie is the prime suspect. Scott’s wife Alafair works on the after twister cleanup while Ruth looks into the murder.
The latest Alafair Tucker historical mystery (see The Wrong Hill to Die On) is a super whodunit with a next generation approach as Ruth and Trenton lead the inquiry while her parents are involved with the storm aftermath. A strong yet relevant today period piece, readers will relish the return of the Boynton brood.