All Men Fear Me: An Alafair Tucker Mystery
Three years into World War I, the United States is mobilizing in support of its European allies. The debate over national responsibilities continues, taking different and sometimes pernicious forms. In little towns like Boynton, Oklahoma in 1917, even pro-war families struggle with the recently-introduced Draft Lottery. Should young sons be held back until called or allowed to enlist immediately? Death is preferable to the shame of conscientious objection, and pacifists are shunned.
All Men Fear Me revolves around a wife and mother at the hub of a large Oklahoma family. Alafair Tucker’s eldest son has enlisted, her younger son is an outspoken patriot, and her brother is a socialist whose activism angers and, perhaps, endangers the family. When radical pro-war factions accuse local immigrants of sabotage and espionage, and an evil outsider adds murder to the mix, Alafair and her family must reexamine their own values.
Casey gives full expression to opposing points of view in what was a contentious era, but stock characters, especially when one is the Devil, make sections tedious. The eighth in Casey’s Alafair Tucker mysteries (after Hell with the Lid Blown Off) is for series fans.