See Also Deception: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery

Written by Larry D. Sweazy
Review by Rebecca Kightlinger

North Dakota, 1965. When librarian Calla Eltmore doesn’t answer her phone by the eleventh ring, book indexer Marjorie Trumaine panics. “Something is wrong. I know it.

So begins this cozy mystery in which the small-town librarian is found dead. When Calla’s death is ruled a suicide, Marjorie is devastated. It’s October in North Dakota; winter’s coming; there’s not enough firewood; Marjorie’s husband is lingering between life and death; and now, the librarian has committed suicide. What else can happen?

For twenty chapters, a shell-shocked Marjorie seeks answers as she shuttles between the library and the sickbed of her husband, Hank, who was left blind and quadriplegic a year earlier, when he stepped in a gopher hole while hunting and shot himself in the face. In chapter twenty-one, though, Marjorie notices a clue that whispers Murder.

Marjorie indexes her suspects: Herbert Frakes, library janitor. Nina Tutweiler, a stranger in town.

Frakes, Herbert. Found the body. No violent history.

Tutweiler, Nina. Doesn’t believe suicide… Need to find.

Then, on the day of Calla’s funeral, something happens that makes Marjorie recompile her entries.

A first-person storyteller, Marjorie paints a bleak picture of a North Dakota native eking out a living on the Western Plains. Her narrative, while evocative, is riddled with distracting infelicities of grammar (“There weren’t anywhere near that amount of people”), and redundancy (“adrift in a confusing nightmare that made no sense”). But when she finally stumbles upon Calla’s murderer, Marjorie comes to a conclusion that, while inelegantly phrased, echoes the reader’s reaction and makes perfect sense: “It was something I would never be able to understand or comprehend…”