- File Size: 587 KB
- Print Length: 277 pages
- Publication Date: September 4, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00960SI9K
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,270,608 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Desert Hedge Murders (A Syvia and Willie Mystery Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Former Miami judge Sylvia Thorn's heart should be racing. She let herself be railroaded into accompanying her mother's seniors group, the Florida Flippers, to a weekend of fun in Laughlin, Nevada, and Oatman, Arizona, and they haven't even settled into their hotel rooms before a body is found in one of them.
The seventy- and eighty-somethings are excited because of the body found in Sarah Pringle's bathtub, and they're all set to investigate the murder. That first night all the Flippers run around the casino asking questions while Sylvia has the feeling that Sandra and her roommate Patsy know more than they're letting on. Sure enough, next morning finds Sandra missing. And speaking of feelings, Sylvia's brother Willie is in Florida, and he can feel that his sister's in trouble. Nothing doing but he and their father hop the next flight out. The stage is now set for all kinds of goings on.
Sylvia and the Flippers go to Oatman, Arizona. By this time, Sylvia realizes that she's signed on to herd excited cats. When their tour of a nearby gold mine is ruined by a grisly discovery, the ladies are more willing to settle down and listen to the local police and an FBI agent who is now on the scene. The Flippers are in danger, and Sylvia knows she's going to have to work hard to keep them all accounted for... and safe. The situation doesn't necessarily improve when Willie and their father show up.
I enjoyed this book with all its elements of the Keystone Kops. Anyone who's spent any time at all with a group of spry senior citizens knows the probable outcome if said group is on vacation and smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation. Stoltey had me caught between bouts of laughter and frustration as those "little old ladies" went to work.
Any time the action took place in Oatman, I was even happier. I've been to this old mining town on Route 66 several times, and Stoltey really captured its ambiance.
The cast of characters in this book is so good. The Flippers are a hoot, and Sylvia is a level-headed woman who doesn't panic-- even though she does need to learn to relax more. Sylvia's brother, Willie, is also a wonderful character who adds so much to the book. A Vietnam veteran, Willie suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, but he's learned how to deal with it and has made a good life for himself. He also happens to be a bit psychic, which can be both a blessing and a curse for his sister, depending on the circumstances.
I couldn't help but wish there was a tiny bit more to The Desert Hedge Murders as I read. In one scene, Sylvia is planning a night-time visit to the old gold mine, and all the Flippers start digging through their purses to provide Sylvia's fanny pack with emergency items. The things the Flippers toss at her are funny in and of themselves, but I was envisioning Sylvia stuck down in the mine trying to be MacGyver with all those goodies. Alas, it was not meant to be, probably because Sylvia is Sylvia, not MacGyver, and she doesn't need to imitate anyone else. This book-- minus my wishful thinking, thank goodness-- is thoroughly enjoyable. Read for yourself!
However, events take an immediate turn for the worse when a corpse is found in the hotel bathroom of two members, Sandra and Patsy. Patsy is the newest member of the group and no one except Sandra knows anything about her. Then, Sandra disappears.
During an excursion to a deserted gold mine, Sylvia and the Flippers come upon Sandra's body hanging over a deep, dark shaft. Not knowing if she is alive or dead, the tour guides try to reach the body, only to see it plunge into the seemingly bottomless crevice.
The intrigue mounts as Sylvia discovers Sandra's unscrupulous husband is operating a hedge fund Ponzi scheme and the Flippers had invested in the fund. Then it is revealed to her an organized crime boss she previously tried is also involved.
The story also contains an FBI special agent who is as personally interested in Sylvia as he is in the case. Local law enforcements, Sylvia's clairvoyant brother Willie and her father, and local residents fill out the believable yet sometimes eclectic cast of characters.
Sylvia, Willie, and Patsy continue to investigate the murders and return to the mine at night, only to find them selves trying to save their own lives as they are confronted by the bad guys.
"Desert Hedge Murders" is a fun, amateur sleuth, cozy mystery. Patricia demonstrates her writing talents with terrific character development, team and individual dynamics within the Flippers, a couple murders, and describing the desert scenery at day and during the night. There are also a couple scenes when the lights go out in the mine. Sylvia has to navigate her way through the pitch black tunnel, surrounded by strange noises and the sense she was being followed. Nicely done