Cast the First Stone
Trinidad (Trini) Bates is a dowser, which means that she uses either a crystal pendulum or a divining rod to find things that are hidden from view, such as water, minerals, and people. When Trini’s brother, Parnell, is arrested for murder (after she dowses for a missing man and finds his body in a canyon just outside their town of Ludlin, Colorado), Trini is determined to use her gift to prove his innocence. Sheriff Mallis, who hates Parnell, does all he can to prevent Trini from pursuing the case, but Deputy Roy Eastman is willing to help Trini, even though he doubts Parnell’s innocence.
It would be hard to find a work of historical fiction with less period detail than this one. We are told that the year is 1932, that people are losing their jobs, and that the bootlegging industry is thriving, but beyond that we must draw on our own knowledge to imagine the clothing, furnishings, and architecture. We are also told that Trini is a compassionate person but, for the most part, she says and does exactly what she wants without consideration for others. All in all, despite some good writing, this book is a disappointing read.