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4.5 Stars . . . Small-town, but Big Fun,
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This review is from: Burying the Hatchet (Hometown Mysteries) (Paperback)
Chris Well, always gifted at creating quirky and memorable characters, has come into his own with these Hometown Mysteries. They are small-scale, small-town, but big fun. Not only do we get to know and love the cranky old Earl Walker, we meet his friends Gloria and Jenny, the bumbling local authorities, and the cast of potential murderers.
"Burying the Hatchet" finds Earl on the perimeter of a murder scene once again, stuck in his wheelchair and his own past secrets, yet logical and persistent in his attempts to solve crimes. This time around a pastor and a renowned psychic get put in a room together, and only the pastor comes out alive, holding a bloody letter-opener. When the psychic is found dead, the pastor seems the obvious suspect, particularly since he has ranted in a recent sermon against the psychic's ways.
Earl and Gloria can't help but get involved. Soon they are butting heads with the cops, annoying a true-crime writer, and riling the local senior citizens. Is the pastor a killer? And if not, who is responsible? Although some of the procedural aspects with the local sheriff and deputy seemed to stretch it a bit--such as the deputy let them examine the crime scene during the same day--I found the mystery itself engaging and clever. Chris Well wraps it all up by paying homage to the closed-room mysteries of Agatha Christie and John Buchan. He has us laughing at times, scratching our heads, and hoping for romance to finally bloom between our elderly sleuths.
I'm looking forward to the third in this series, waiting to see where the romance leads, and what personal secrets Earl is still guarding. If it's half as fun as the first two books, it will be well worth it.