My friends always laugh at me for being the only Murder She Wrote fanatic without blue hair and a walker. What they don’t realize is that J.B. Fletcher is a hip, hip lady, who exemplifies the meaning of Girl Power! Not only is she a snazzy dresser (love the khaki trench coat!), but she is also a brazen, balls-to-the-wall crime fighter who puts local law enforcement to shame. That’s what I love about amateur women detectives! And that’s why I had such a great time accompanying Esbeth Walters – a Texified Mrs. Marple – on her quest to help her pal “Boose” find the con artists who cheated his elderly mother out of $64,000.
A retired school teacher and full-time sleuth, Esbeth is the kind of woman that good ol’ Texas boys would call a ‘pistol.’ Much like my girl J.B. Fletcher, the sleuthing senior gets nothing but eye rolls and condescending remarks from local law enforcement. But that doesn’t stop her from taking on a new case when a friend in need comes knocking on her door. When Boose – an endearingly cantankerous rough-n-tough Texan – asked her to find the tricksters who stole his mother’s rest-home fund, she reluctantly answers the call of duty. After snooping around the local nursing home – run by a shifty director and an imposing nurse with about as much warmth as a prison guard – Esbeth discovers Boose’s mom wasn’t the only resident who was bamboozled by money-grubbing grifters. She soon stumbles upon another mystery when a damsel in distress enlists her help in proving her husband’s bizarre car accident was not a suicide. With the help of her elderly sidekick, Gardner Burke (who, if this ever became a movie, could be played by Clint Eastwood), Esbeth unearths (literally) connections between the two mysteries and discovers her cozy Hill Country hamlet is a hotbed for swindlers and cold-blooded murderers.
I’m not sure what disturbed me the most about this mystery, the two ruthless hit men who like their weapons a little too much, or Esbeth’s foreboding dread of living her last remaining years in a grim rest home that reeks of Lysol and death. This book definitely left me feeling a little uneasy in many ways. But that’s not to say I didn’t have a heck of a good time reading it!
This read is perfect to snuggle up to with a steaming mug of chai tea – my fave! With the nights getting darker and colder, what better than a good murder mystery with a good dollop of Texas grit thrown in too! Thanks Russ, for creating another fun and feisty female detective series. Keep em’ coming!
Do you have a favorite amatuer sleuth? If so, who?