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Pecos Valley Revival Hardcover – February 9, 2011
From Publishers Weekly
Duncan, who has written romances, mysteries, and westerns under a variety of names, combines all three genres in this slight effort. In 1923 New Mexico, 19-year-old Annabelle Blue works in her family's dry-goods store, reads voraciously, and dreams of adventure. Both the annual rodeo and a tent revivalist's entourage swell the population, bringing excitement and conflict. The beautiful Esther Strickland, the preacher's sister, commands the attention of Annabelle's beau, Phil Gunderson, and his rodeo champion rival, Kenny Sawyer, to the distress of their sweethearts. When Kenny is poisoned the second night of the rodeo, the list of suspects includes his fiancée. But when his murder is followed by another, the suspect pool widens to the strangers in town. A vivid setting and plenty of old-fashioned charm fail to balance out the slim plot and repetitive prose. (Jan.)
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*Starred Review* Didn’t Esther Strickland know it was rodeo week in Rosedale, not shameless-hussy week? It would seem that the revivalist preacher’s beautiful sister is not clear on this, since she outrageously flirts with every available cowboy in town, including Annabelle Blue’s friend and almost-certain-to-be-future-husband Phil Gunderson. Esther isn’t happy with just ruining Annabelle’s life, though, since she also has her romantic hooks into Kenny Sawyer. But no one else in town, including Annabelle’s best friend, Myrtle Howell, seems to recognize sweet, charming Esther for the Jezebel she really is. However, when Kenny is poisoned during the rodeo celebrations, Annabelle has more worries than just keeping track of her man, Phil; she now has to find a killer! When it comes to writing laughter-laced love stories, Duncan truly is the queen of the literary rodeo, and she infuses Pecos Valley Revival with an irresistibly sharp wit. A cleverly plotted mystery, a sweetly charming romance, and an intriguing1920s New Mexico setting all come together splendidly in this genre-crossing treat. --John Charles
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It must have been my favorite Pecos Valley book and I sure hope it won't be the last one. In fact I understand that Pecos Valley Rainbow is coming 2013. I will be waiting!
When a cowboy is poison during the barbecue, the town is appalled. The town is scared that a murderer is in town and began locking their doors. Annabelle is looking for answers before she loses someone dear to her. I like this series and have one more to read.
She looks forward to the annual rodeo because she meets interesting people from different places. This year also includes a tent revivalist gala, which means more people from elsewhere. However, Annabelle never expected the revivalist preacher Reverend Strickland's beautiful vivacious sister Esther Strickland would have Phil salivating after her as well as his rodeo rival champion Kenny Sawyer; his fiancée Sarah Molina is as distraught as Anabelle is; each is upset with Esther treating their boyfriends like candy and their boyfriends reciprocating the sweetness. When Kenny is poisoned on the rodeo's second night, the police suspect his jealous fiancée. That changes when a second homicide occurs, in which Sarah has no motive.
This is an enjoyable historical mystery with the emphasis on time and place as the audience will feel Alice Duncan enchantingly transported readers to 1920s New Mexico. The cast is solid especially Annabelle, who tells the tale, although she is not as enticing as Daisy Gumm Majesty is. The whodunit is cleverly devised, but remains in the background to observing life in Rosedale circa 1923.