Gwen Barrow, the heroine of this novel, is easy to like. Although only in her twenties, Gwen successfully takes on most of the responsibilities for running her family’s showboat as it plies the rivers of mid-America in 1898. Then the showboat lands at Moss Hollow, Kentucky, and, after the evening performance, a dead body greets the departing audience. The Sheriff insists the showboat stay at Moss Hollow until he solves the crime. Without new towns in which to perform, Gwen soon faces financial insolvency. On top of everything else, the local preacher begins a romantic pursuit of Gwen, but her heart belongs to the handsome captain of the Jubilee Palace, Carson Stockwell.
Thomason creates a cast of memorable characters that seem as real as the person next door. But she does much more than that. In the middle of the story, when many other writers let the narrative sag a bit, she springs a surprise that energizes the story and rockets it to the end.
Grave Review is the second in the Jubilee Showboat Mysteries.