The Wrong Hill to Die On

Written by Donis Casey
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

The latest in the Alafair Tucker mystery series finds the 1916 Oklahoma mother of ten a fish out of water in Tempe, Arizona. Focused on a sick member of her flock, Alafair and husband Shaw have followed doctor’s advice and brought ten-year-old Blanche to a dry climate to stay with Alafair’s sister Elizabeth’s family. Their welcoming party is barely over before a body turns up in a ditch and a cracking mystery is off and running.

Full of great characterization, warmth and folk wisdom, the Tuckers are also firmly placed in a time of the casual racism of a rawboned Anglo/Latino/Yaqui community beset by fear of Pancho Villa’s raiders, an underground network of immigrants, and the delights of an on location movie shoot. Add the marital tensions of both Elizabeth and her neighbor Cindy and there are plenty of suspects and motives. What U.S. Marshal Dillon wonders is how mayhem seems to follow Alafair Tucker around. Faithful readers won’t: the woman maintains her splendid talent for both mothering and mysteries. Highly recommended.