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Killing Custer
Wind River Reservation #17
Margaret Coel

Berkley Prime Crime (Reissue)
September 2, 2014/ ISBN 978-0425264645
Cozy Mystery

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Colonel Edward Garrett, a well-known Custer impersonator, and other re-enactors of Custer’s 7th Cavalry parade down Main Street in Lander, Wyoming, surrounded by local townsfolk. Arapaho and Shoshones from the local reservations are also there, shouting that they remember Washita. Soon several young Arapaho on horseback encircle the cavalry, intent on reminding everyone of who beat Custer. And just like in the battle of Little Big Horn, “Custer” is killed.

Father John O’Malley from St. Francis Mission hasn’t missed the parade in ten years. He witnesses the event and, when Detective Madden tells him he believes the two young Arapaho leaders are suspects, Father John believes the young men are innocent and sets out to prove it. I liked his character, his understanding of the Indian ways and his patient yet dogged determination.

Colonel Garrett’s widows asks Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden to represent her regarding an investment her husband made before his death. Vicky agrees, but regrets that decision when she is asked to represent the two young Arapaho. She refuses because to do so would be a conflict of interest, and her frustration at being unable to represent her own people is tangible and I could feel her inner turmoil.

As Vicky and Father John follow different paths to find Colonel Garrett’s killer, the plot took me along several twists and turns, revealing possible suspects and a mystery that held me entranced. Margaret Coel is a talented author who provides a tightly-woven, electrifying plot, while depicting reservation life and the prejudice Indians still face. The historical aspects of Washita and Little Big Horn are known to many, but the pain and suffering that lingers to this day may not. This was an excellent book, and I will definitely be reading her previous releases in this series.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Wife of Moon #10
Eye of the Wolf # 11
The Drowning Man #12
Killing Custer #17
The Man Who Fell From the Sky #19

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2014