‘See Also Deception’: A good addition to the Marjorie Trumaine mystery series #bookreview

See Also Deception

Larry D. Sweazy

Seventh Street Books

As I have mentioned here before, I love mystery stories where the investigator is an ordinary citizen, not a well-trained police detective or a struggling private sleuth beaten down by drunkenness, personal demons, and too many bad cases.

The investigator in See Also Deception, the second novel in the Marjorie Trumaine series, is dealing with than her share of life challenges. She is trying pay bills and scratch out a hardscrabble existence on a farm in rural North Dakota. She also is a full-time caregiver for her husband, Hank, a once-vigorous farmer now paralyzed from the neck down following a hunting accident.

During the very lean months between crops, Marjorie works from home for publishers, as a freelance indexer of books. Her ability to categorize and organize facts and details not only helps her get assignments and pay household bills; it also helps her solve murders in the countryside and in the small town nearby.

Set in the mid-1960s, amid Cold War tensions, See Also Deception has Marjorie struggling with demands at home and struggling with her belief that her friend Calla Elmore, the local librarian, did not shoot herself in the head but was murdered. Local law enforcement officials don’t share Marjorie’s suspicions, of course. So it is up to her to solve the case and prove them wrong.

Larry D. Sweazy, author of this series, is a prize-winning fiction writer who has turned out numerous other books. For the most part, the writing in this novel is very good. But the stark rural setting offers perhaps too many opportunities for internal monologue, once you’ve noted — and re-noted — the jackrabbits scurrying across the unpaved roads and the dust clouds billowing behind Marjorie’s world-weary Studebaker.

On a few occasions, Sweazy also uncorks a sentence that is just a bit too folksy, such as: “I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away from my questions about Calla’s death any more than a June bug could stay away from the dusk-to-dawn light at the peak of the garage roof.”

Nitpicking aside, however, See Also Deception is an entertaining, engrossing sequel to See Also Murder, the debut novel in the Marjorie Trumaine series.

Si Dunn

 

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See Also Murder – A fine mystery featuring an unusual investigator in an unusual locale – #bookreview

 

See Also Murder

A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery

Larry D. Sweazy

(Seventh Street Books – paperback, Kindle)

 

I love mystery stories where the investigator is neither a bitter private detective nor a jaded cop, and the setting is somewhere far away from New York, Los Angeles, Paris or other “usual suspect” cities.

Larry D. Sweazy’s new novel features a North Dakota farm wife who freelances as a book indexer while also taking care of her disabled husband and their tenuous hold on their windswept acreage.

When a nearby farm couple is brutally murdered, the local sheriff comes to see Marjorie Trumaine and asks her to help him track down the meaning or identity of a puzzling clue, a strange, Norse copper amulet found clutched in one victim’s hand.

Marjorie is reluctant, at first, to help, creeped out by what has happened to her neighbors and worried about protecting her blind and partially paralyzed husband from danger.

Once she does go to work on trying to identify the amulet, however, she begins to come across odd, seemingly disconnected clues. But the puzzles start to become clearer to her once she puts her book indexing skills to work. She begins creating an index of clues and suspects. And what she organizes soon leads her right into an unexpected, deadly trap.

Larry D. Sweazy is a well-established Western writer who has been casting a wider fiction net recently. And, like Marjorie Trumaine, he is a professional book indexer. Unlike Marjorie, however, he has compiled more than 800 back-of-the-book indexes for major trade publishers and university presses.

Set in the 1960s, See Also Murder is mystery at some of its engrossing best, with an investigator definitely worth following as the new series grows.

Si Dunn