I confess. I picked up Ed Gorman’s Wake Up Little Susie because I liked the title.
I love Buddy Holly. I still listen to his songs. I thought it might be fun to read a light mystery about the 50’s. And it was.
It was Saturday, September 14, 1957, the day they introduced the Edsel. The Edsel made a mostly-negative splash across the country and in Black River Falls, Iowa.
And wouldn’t you know it? In Black River Falls, they found the body of Susan Squires in the trunk of one of those brand new cars.
The author fills this book with all the things people my age remember. He names everyone from Robert McNamara to Hank Williams. I can’t begin to list all the names and events the book brought up for me.
Gorman also fills the book with small-town intrigue. Anyone raised in a small town (as I was) understands that there are cliques. People hack at each other under the smaltzy small-town everyone-loves-everyone exterior. Nineteen-fifty small towns are not as gentle as some remember them.
And Wake Up Little Susie has a semi-surprise ending. Just when you think you know what happened, you learn you were wrong.
In other words, this was a quick, fun book, especially for old geezers like me. I understand there are more. I’ll probably try to look them up.
P.S. As I put the graphic up for this post, I noticed how little the cover has to do with what really happened in the story. Believe me, unless I don't remember right, they found the body in the trunk.