by Donis Casey
It’s the spring of 1913, and love is in bloom for Alice Tucker. Alice’s new beau, Walter Kelley, is handsome, popular, and wealthy. Everyone in Boynton, Oklahoma, likes him. Everyone, that is, but Alice’s mother, Alafair. She sees that Walter has a weakness for the ladies — and they for him. Moveover, Walter’s late wife Louise had been stabbed in the heart and her body disposed of in Cane Creek only a few months earlier. The murderer is still at large.
The sheriff has cleared Walter of the deed — he was in Kansas City at the time. But Alafair is not so sure that he wasn’t involved in some way. Something literally doesn’t smell right. Could it be Louise’s tormented spirit signalling clues from the other side, or is Alafair scenting a more direct link to the crime?
Even if he had nothing to do with his wife’s death, Alafair judges Walter to have been a bad husband and, with the help of her feisty mother-in-law, Sally McBride, Alafair sets out to prove to the headstrong Alice that Walter is not the paragon she thinks he is. You can bet that Alice has something to say about that.
As she searches for the truth behind the death of Louise Kelley, Alafair uncovers such a tangle of lies, misdirection, and deceit that she begins to think that the whole town has been downright hornswoggled!
(63,000 words; e-book $4.99 USD)
Reviews of Hornswoggled
“Donis Casey’s Hornswoggled … provides a satisfying Alafair Tucker mystery, set in 1913 and telling of romance, a wife’s mysterious murder, and Alafair’s investigation of husband Walter’s possible involvement. Family politics and involvements blend with a satisfying tangle of lies and subterfuge that lend complexity and vivid action to Hornswoggled.” —Midwest Book Review
“The author evokes Oklahoma of almost a hundred years ago and peoples it with wonderfully diverse characters with intertwined relationships. Alafair Gunn Tucker, mother of 10 and amateur sleuth, is concerned that one of her daughters is falling for a recently widowed barber who may have killed his wife. Partly in an effort to protect Alice, Alafair pursues the clues left behind by the killer (or victim), and the mystery she unravels seems to tie half of the town to the murder. There are moments of farce and elements of danger. Readers can almost smell the scent of death on the bloodstained rug and taste the homemade butter and potato patties (recipes included). The book provides an entertaining way for teen to appreciate the richness of life in this time and place. The idioms and local color are delightful, and the characters are real enough for readers to fear for their safety.” —School Library Journal
“The newest offering from Donis Casey, who set this marvelously engaging series in play with last year’s The Old Buzzard Had It Coming. Boynton, Oklahoma is the scene of the crime, which revolves around a ladies’ man whose wife has been murdered. Alafair Tucker, series sleuth and devoted mother of eleven [sic] has a particular investment in this scenario since her daughter is in love with the handsome widower. When Alalfair begins to investigate, massive deception comes to light in this nostalgic trip through 1913 Oklahoma, when life was simpler — or was it?” —mysterylovers.com
“Set in the prairie town of Boynton, Okla., in the spring of 1913, Casey’s nostalgic, folksy second novel to feature Alafair Tucker (after 2005′s “The Old Buzzard Had It Coming”) finds the full-time mother of 11 [sic] and part time sleuth worried about one of her grown daughters, Alice. Alice is sweet on barber Walter Kelley, an attractive widower whom the determined and discerning Alafair mistrusts; Walter is just too popular with the ladies. Since Alice is set on having Walter, Alafair seks distraction by investigating the unsolved murder of Louise Kelley, Walter’s late wife, whose stabbed body surfaced in a creek bordering the Tucker farm eight months earlier. Dialog rich with Midwestern speech patterns and a consistent, unobtrusive narrative voice lift this smalltown historical, which should particularly appeal to Margaret Maron fans. An appendix of down-home recipes is a bonus.” —Publishers’ Weekly