Itss October 1923, and three things are going on in the generally dull town of Rosedale, New Mexico: the fall cattle drive, the fall rodeo, and a tent revival. Annabelle Blue is excited about the first two events. She's not so happy about the third. A fun, fast-paced mystery set in a tiny southwestern town at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Duncan, who has written romances, mysteries, and westerns under a variety of names, combines all three genres in this slight effort. In 1923 New Mexico, 19-year-old Annabelle Blue works in her family's dry-goods store, reads voraciously, and dreams of adventure. Both the annual rodeo and a tent revivalist's entourage swell the population, bringing excitement and conflict. The beautiful Esther Strickland, the preacher's sister, commands the attention of Annabelle's beau, Phil Gunderson, and his rodeo champion rival, Kenny Sawyer, to the distress of their sweethearts. When Kenny is poisoned the second night of the rodeo, the list of suspects includes his fiancee. But when his murder is followed by another, the suspect pool widens to the strangers in town. A vivid setting and plenty of old-fashioned charm fail to balance out the slim plot and repetitive prose. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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June 15, 2011
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