Rock With Wings

One of these days I’m going to go back and reread all of Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn mysteries. But, until then, we have his daughter picking up the storyline.

In her first book, Spider Woman’s Daughter, Anne brought in Bernadette Manuelito as an equal of Jim Chee. Tony had created her and set up the eventual marriage of Chee and Manuelito, but it took his daughter to bring her to the front of the stage. It is no accident that Anne had to very nearly kill Leaphorn in the first book to do it.

In this story, Jim and Bernie take a few days vacation, which falls apart at once. Jim ends up staying in Monument Valley while Bernie returns to Shiprock to care for her mother because Little Sister is in jail. Each day finds them deeper into puzzling mysteries that at first seem just bearly crimes. Murder and attempted murder turn that around in a hurry.

We could nitpick about the difference between Tony and Anne, but the fact is, Tony is gone and Anne’s work is as close as anyone will get. I like Leaphorn, Chee, and Bernie, and I like Anne’s writing.

Mike Lawrence

A Bitter Truth

This is book 3 of the Bess Crawford mystery series featuring a fearless British nursing sister during The Great War. The title of Sister is no longer official but is still used by many patients. I don’t know if it is used of the male nurses.

Anyway, Bess is home on leave, discovers a woman in need while in London, and ends up traveling to the country where the woman lives. Nevermind that it is the opposite direction from Bess’s own home. The woman–Lydia–is in need of help, most of which does not involve nursing. But since Bess can’t pass up a mystery, she stays her full leave to help Lydia.

In many ways, the story is a typical British wealthy family who-done-it, but Todd always delivers a good story.

I have had the book on my to-read list for a couple of years but was saving it for a time when I needed a light mystery. However, on the 1 to 10 light/heavy mystery scale, this one is about a 4. If you like to keep score by figuring out who committed the murders early in the book, you might get a low score on this read.

A solid read.

Mike Lawrence