Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WRONG HILL TO DIE ON by Donis Casey








“To hear folk go on you’d think every one of the Mexicans who are coming across the border to get away from the fighting are murderers and criminals who are taking our jobs and money and the food right out our children’s mouths.”

-------- 

1916-- 
Some things hardly change.

In Donis Casey’s Wrong Hill to Die On Alafair and Shaw Tucker take their daughter Blanche to Tempe, Arizona. Blanche needs the dry air. She has a lung infection. (It turns out to be a fungus infection.).

Alafair and Shaw stay with Afafair’s youngest sister Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and her lawyer husband are struggling in their marriage. Then things become more complicated when they find a Mexican immigrant murdered. He is lying in the irrigation ditch in front of their house.

Pancho Villa has made a raid into Arizona. Anti-immigrant feeling is running high.

At the same time, a movie company is making what sounds like an anti-immigrant movie in Tempe. Events around the movie lead Alafair to learn about the immigrant undergound railroad. And the story goes from here.

As always, the Alafair Tucker stories have a strong sense of place. The historical details fascinate me. The tie to what is happening right now makes this story even more interesting.

Elizabeth and her friends love many of the immigrants they know. They also fear the immigrants they don’t know.

These books always have interesting historical Afterwords. The Afterword to this book tells us that the movie and its characters come from history. Donis Casey sometimes rearranges the details, but she often uses things that actually happened.

The same goes for a few of the story’s public characters. Many have the names of actual people, though the author clearly says they are fictionalized versions of those people.

Even the titles smack of history. I had no idea what the book’s title  Wrong Hill to Die On meant. The same goes for another of Casey’s titles, The Drop Edge of Yonder.

Casey tells her Alafair Tucker stories well. The characters are interesting. The history fascinates. Often, the plots surprise.

For me, some of these books are better than others, but I have liked them all.

2 comments:

Naomi Johnson said...

Wrong Hill is probably my least favorite so far. Too many characters in this one, and for me the stories work best when Alafair is at home with her entire family.

Joe Barone said...

I too prefer the ones where she is home. It is almost always that way with whatever series I enjoy. To me the interest in this book was in the parallels with the present day. I hadn't much thought of the history of our immigrant racism before.