Another Review at MyShelf.Com

An Alafair Tucker Mystery #2

by Donis Casey

      Ms Casey, you have Hornswoggled this reader with your wonderful book. I reviewed your last one, The Old Buzzard Had it Coming and I love this next story. You have outdone yourself in portraying the events, the lifestyle and the genuine people that comprise this growing America. I wanted to read ahead and find out who-done-it, but couldn't bring myself to not read all the way through. You show a masterful talent with words, creating an atmosphere for the murder that is somber and intriguing, but also very positive in showing how a person with a heart should always try to look at the things surrounding them.

As in your previous book, The Old Buzzard, you show the old western farm in the change-over from the horse and buggy days to the new-fangled automobile, in an up and coming Oklahoma country where those farms stretched for miles and many people only knew their neighbors slightly. The towns that grew up around those outposts were invovled in the growing of this country and the people becoming more socially oriented towards each other, playing a part in the relationships shown. You had to have listened attentively to a grandmother or other older family member relating tales of that time (which you have also clearly researched extensively) to make the reader feel totally at home in the middle of it. I even started thinking and speaking in the Oklahoman dialects that I remember so well from my past relatives. To make a murder that took place in a community so remote from today's hustle and bustle, amidst that of the simple life of nearly a 100 years ago, real is a remarkable achievement, seeing as how most people only relate to present time circumstances with any fluidity. I completely and honestly recommend Hornswoggled as a book the reader will feel completely at home in reading, in part because there is so much in it that is inside all of us and makes us the people we are today.

Hornswoggled starts with the simple finding of a body in Cane Creek, then leads the reader on a long chase amongst many not so suspicious characters to find out who murdered the woman. Meanwhile Alafair is also busy trying to stop Alice, her daughter, from marrying the man of her choice, whom Alafair thinks (and rightly so, or so it seems) is so wrong for her daughter and will bring her nothing but pain and heartache. Along the way, it turns out that a number of people were involved in the disappearance, transporting, and murder of the victim, Miz Kelley - Walter, her newly widowed husband, who is also the town barber and Alice's suitor; various neighbors; the nefarious villains Billy Boyd and Jeff Stubblefield (who the local Sheriff and law enforcement think are the guilty parties); Miz Kelley's sister and her husband, Nellie & Ned Tolland; and the new Minister and his wife. This is truly masterful storytelling. The roles they all play and the intertwining of the lives, I will leave to you to find, so that you may enjoy the true essence of this masterful mystery.

As I said in my previous review, Ms. Casey is able to weave a story out of the old family trunk and make it something that everyone will enjoy. She has a very fine way with words and getting the thoughts on paper very skillfully. I thoroughly enjoyed this great little mystery that does not have the main characters all caught up in the thrill or the challenge of over-active heroism. It is a very real, down to earth, wrenching to the core story about a way of life that is no more. Ms. Casey, I am a fan and will look forward to your next book. Please keep up the realistic approach to your stories, and thank you for the ride.

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
Sept 2006
Historical Mystery [1913 Oklahoma Americana]
More at

The Reviewer

Claudia VanLydegeraf
Reviewed 2006
© 2006