Alafair Tucker is a strong woman and the core of her family’s life on a farm in Oklahoma where backbreaking work and the daily logistics of caring for her husband and their nine children, and of being a good neighbor, requires determination and a clear head. She’s also a woman of strong opinions, and it is her opinion that her neighbor, Harley Day, is a drunkard and a reprobate. So, when Harley’s body is discovered frozen in a snowdrift one January day in 1912, she isn’t surprised that his long-suffering family isn’t particularly broken up.
When Alafair helps Harley’s wife prepare the body for burial, she discovers that Harley’s demise was anything but natural: there is a bullet lodged behind his ear. And when she hears that Harley’s son, John Lee, is the prime suspect in his father’s murder, she grows concerned - her 17-year-old daughter Phoebe is in love with the boy. At first, Alafair’s only fear is that Phoebe is in for a broken heart, but as she begins to unravel the events that led to Harley’s death, she discovers that Phoebe might be more than just John Lee’s sweetheart: She may be his accomplice in murder. But a man like Harley turns many people against him, and whoever said there are some things even a mother can’t fix never met Alafair Tucker.
Pitch-perfect for the Oklahoma frontier, Donis Casey’s first novel in the Alafair Tucker mystery series is both a compelling mystery and a remarkable evocation of the hard work and family joys of life 100 years ago.
Donis Casey was raised in Oklahoma, earned degrees from the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma University, and has worked as a teacher and academic librarian. She lives in Arizona.
©2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc (P)2012 Donis A. Casey
"Donis Casey…gives us a tale full of wit, humor, sorrow, and, more important, the truth. Her Alafair Tucker deserves to stand beside Ma Joad in literature’s gallery of heroic ladies." (Tony Hillerman, New York Times best-selling author)
"As vivid and unforgettable as a crimson Oklahoma sunset." (Carolyn Hart, New York Times best-selling author)
"Under Donis Casey’s gifted hand and shrewd historic eye, Tucker adds solving a mystery to her busy schedule. It all could easily have gone soft and cute, especially the many long visits to the Tuckers’ fellow farmers. But by avoiding all the built-in traps, Casey has produced a sharp and suspenseful first novel." (Chicago Tribune)
I love reading reviews. No plot spoilers please. These are not book reports!
Well if you ever sit back and think about the good old days of the past with the simpler life think again. This book depicts just how hard it was farming and keeping house in Oklahoma in 1912. Dawn to dusk chores and oh my the cooking for these very large families! Alafair is a smart hard-working good neighbor who keeps her family on track and solves crimes on the side. Fascinating look at life in rural Oklahoma-mules and wagons as transportation--and dinners that include 3-4 pies! Recipes are included at the end of the book. An interesting first book of a series which I enjoyed.
Donis Casey has written a wonderfully atmospheric mystery, set in 1912 Oklahoma, in a typical farming community, where everyone know everyone else's business. The Shaw and Alafair Tucker family are the central characters, with their 9 surviving children. When a no good neighbor man is found frozen to death, Alafair gets drawn into the mystery of his death. Her daughter, Phoebe, is "sweet" on the dead man's son, and Alafair fears that she may be involved in his death somehow.
The times are well drawn out in this story. Descriptions of farm and family life are vividly depicted, right down to the smell of the beans and cornbread. The mother, Alafair, is bound and determined to protect her surviving family, where family life involves everyone doing their part to keep life running well on the farm. The downfalls of less than honorable community members is deftly drawn out in this mystery also. Truly, a fun and intricate historical mystery. Looking forward to the second book in this series!!
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