Donis Casey’s Hornswoggled starts slow and picks up.
It is 1913 in and around Boynton, Oklahoma.
Shaw and Alafair Tucker’s sons go swimming in a local creek. They find the body of Louise Kelley, Walter Kelley’s late wife. She has a knife stuck in her chest.
Walter was in Kansas City at the time of the murder, but there is no shortage of suspects. Even Walter comes under suspicion.
To complicate matters, the Tuckers' daughter Alice falls in love with the wealthy widower.
As with the first Alafair Tucker book, Hornswoggled is strong on setting. The first half of the book is setting and complication. Alafair worries about her daughter’s love for a philanderer and possible killer. But Alice is eighteen. She is legally able to marry without her parent’s permission.
It almost seems as if everyone in town is involved in the murder. From the neighbors to the victim’s sister, a whole host of people play a part.
The story has a most surprising ending. In that regard, this isn’t truly a mystery. Alafair and Shaw solve the murder almost by accident.
I have more of the Alafair Tucker books to read.