The Red, White, and Blue Murder (Hilda Johansson Mysteries)

Written by Jeanne M. Dams
Review by Ilysa Magnus

Dams’ second Hilda Johansson murder mystery (following Death in Lacquer Red) opens in 1901 with the assassination of President McKinley. The suspected assassin is a recent immigrant to the United States, considered an anarchist. During the days after McKinley’s shooting, South Bend has its own grisly murders with which to contend. Are the murders linked to the class struggle which some say motivated McKinley’s assassin?

Hilda, a gutsy, intuitive, young Swedish housemaid, works for the illustrious Studebaker family, manufacturers of carriages for the landed gentry, and staunch McKinley supporters. Hilda’s foreign roots are both a source of pride and a painful reminder that she is an outsider. She desperately wishes to become an American citizen and to fit in, yet wants to protect her immigrant brethren.

Hilda finally finds the individual responsible for the South Bend murders. Apart from Dams’ talent in creating an entertaining, attractive heroine, she also liberally peppers the book with actual newspaper snippets, bringing the history of the period to life. I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to Dams’ next Hilda Johansson mystery.