The Return of the Raven Mocker
In 1918, Alafair Tucker moves to Boynton, Oklahoma, to care for her daughter and son-in-law, both incapacitated by the Spanish flu pandemic sweeping the town. Although Alafair’s husband and younger children are safely out of Boynton, Alafair worries about her older sons and sons-in-law serving in WWI in Europe. She helps out using her country remedies, complementing a new doctor’s modern methods. With people succumbing all over town from influenza, the deaths of Alafair’s two neighbors, a mother and son, should not seem unusual, but something about them raises Alafair’s suspicions.
While this is Donis Casey’s ninth Alafair Tucker mystery, it reads like a standalone. Keeping track of the Tuckers’ large extended family and the extensive cast of characters might have been problematic, but Casey has thoughtfully provided a helpful dramatis personae. The murder mystery plot is thickened by references to an evil Cherokee spirit who might be hunting for victims. Alafair’s use of old Cherokee folk medicine adds to the flair of the well-written story. Highly recommended.