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June 08, 2015

See Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery

See also Murder_coverSee Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery

By: Larry Sweazy

Local author Larry Sweazy introduces a new mystery series with See Also Murder. Set in rural ND in the mid-60s, this story of love, loss, murder, and greed will grab and hold your attention throughout. Marjorie is an industrious farm wife with an invalid husband, who keeps the family farm afloat by writing back-of-the-book indexes. When the friendly couple on the neighboring farm meet a violent demise, Marjorie is tasked by the local sheriff to research an artifact found at the scene. Unsure who she can trust and fearing for her own safety, Marjorie tenaciously pursues the clues. As the mystery unfolds, you’ll meet a quirky cast of small-town personalities: Hilo the sheriff, Guy the deputy, Calla the librarian (a personal favorite!), Raymond the paleontology prof (and Marjorie’s cousin), Burlene the nosey party-line neighbor, and Curtis the county extension agent. Though the body-count escalates and personal threats intensify, Marjorie refuses to be cowed. Her penchant for organization and instinct for recognizing key elements make her an apt investigator. You’ll admire her pluck as she doggedly pursues the culprit, bringing justice to bear and restoring the bucolic peace to her home and those of her grateful neighbors.

Sweazy crafts evocative prose, enticing the reader through a twisting maze of clues and suspicions to an unexpected yet satisfying conclusion. He opens with, “I saw a plume of dust through the window over my desk, and something told me trouble was heading my way.” How could you not read on with anticipation? Traveling back to the 60s evokes nostalgia and a craving for simpler days, when Salem cigarettes sold for a quarter-a-pack and neighbors shared a phone party-line. Sweazy interjects indexing as a recurring theme – a tool of Marjorie’s trade. She aptly seeks and organizes clues on 3” x 5” cards, as if indexing a book, thereby aligning disjointed facts to ultimately reveal the murderer. Another prominent theme is of strong, no nonsense women who accept and adapt to life’s most daunting challenges with grace. The women of See Also Murder assume traditional utilitarian roles, “Most of the women who populated my life had flour behind their ears, not Chanel No. 5.” but they are an independent, self-reliant lot, willing to defend themselves and their loved ones if put to the test, “The .22 was fully loaded, 17 cartridges plus one in the chamber, ready to go; death in my hands, fear in my heart.” Threads of Norse mythology can also be found woven throughout the story, with legendary lore creating a sense of dark foreboding over the town’s present-day events.

Be prepared, there are a slew of characters to keep track of – even more than Marjorie’s clever Border Collie Shep could corral. Several of these seem extraneous to the story but perhaps they will claim prominence in Marjorie’s future adventures; Sweazy’s next installment for this series will be out in May 2016.

Review By: Pam Lamberger