A Lack of Temperance
The Hattie Davish mystery series is off to a promising start. The young amateur sleuth is a traveling secretary with a steel-trap mind and a curiosity that buoys the spirits of the oppressed and maddens the guilty. It’s 1892, and Hattie arrives at a small Ozark town, hired as personal secretary to a leader of the Temperance movement, one hatchet-to-saloon wielding Mother Trevelyan. The lady soon goes missing, then murdered. Local police think they’ve found their man in the saloonkeeper, but Hattie and a local doctor are convinced things are not so simple. Time, place and characters are rendered with wit and heart and humor, with a nice feel for class differences. How could one not want to follow a truth-seeker who goes home to find comfort in the feel of her typewriter keys? I look forward to the next installment.