With major renovations going on at Seattle's favourite B&B, Mary Daheim moves Judith, Renie and the rest of the unforgettable clan to temporary lodgings at a casino resort. But when a magic show results in murder, Judith and Joe are on the job.
Mystery maven Mary Daheim serves up murder and mayhem in this tale of a vacation gone awry at the Stillasnowamish Resort Casino. After being forced out of the B&B by post-fire renovations, Judith and Renie pack up the family and settle in for the duration. As if bickering from the two mothers wasn't enough hassle, the group discovers Salome, the resort magician's beautiful assistant they'd seen perform only hours earlier, dead from multiple stab wounds. While Judith can't help but snoop around, her husband Joe is officially recruited to investigate by the casino manager. The chase is on as suspect after suspect emerges leaving Judith and Joe to answer the crucial, yet baffling question . . . who's the real casino killer?
Leaving their beloved Seattle B&B, which is being renovated, Judith McMonigle Flynn and husband Joe take their two squabbling mothers and Judith's cousin Renie to Lake Stillasnowamish Resort Casino in this winning addition to Daheim's long-running cozy series (after 2002's Silver Scream). Soon after arriving at the resort, the cousins find Salome, the gorgeous magician's assistant, stabbed to death after an evening show. Ever curious, Judith begins searching for clues to Salome's murder. Joe, an ex-police officer and friend of the casino's manager, takes charge of the investigation, leaving Judith and Renie-when Judith can draw her cousin away from the slot machines and gaming tables-to continue their own inquiries into the growing list of suspects and yet another murder. The usually feisty Renie becomes even feistier as her gambling obsession grows. The mothers, always humorous, appear to particular comic advantage when left to their own devices in this new and exciting world for them. While some Daheim devotees might feel the surprise twist ending isn't fair to Judith, most fans should welcome the change of pace.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 31, 2004
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Excerpt from Hocus Croakus by Mary Daheim
Judith McMonigle Flynn staggered out of the car, dumped a foil-lined paper cup of cigarette butts into a big stone ashtray, and found herself looking up at an imposing white-haired Native-American man who was wearing more gold braid than General Douglas MacArthur.
"I'm Bob Bearclaw, the doorman here at the Stillasnowamish casino," the big man announced in a deep, pleasing voice. "Welcome to our resort. May I help you, young lady?"
Judith smiled. "You can help my mother. She's in the backseat and is rather crippled. She'll need a wheelchair, if you have one available."
"Of course we do," Bob replied. "I'll get it right away." He snapped his fingers and made a complicated gesture with his hand. A young valet with a long black braid nodded deferentially before racing inside the casino.
Joe Flynn had finished speaking with a bellman who was now unloading the family's luggage from the Subaru.
"They're getting a wheelchair for Mother," she told her husband.
Joe scowled. "You mean we have to let her out of the car?"
"Don't be mean," Judith scolded. "We don't want to get off to a bad start on our vacation. I'm the one who could hardly breathe with Mother smoking her head off in the backseat."
"And bitching the whole way because there wasn't an ashtray there," Joe grumbled. "She should have thanked me for fixing that cup for her."
Judith refused to argue further. Besides, Joe had to deal with the parking attendant as well as the bellman. And Judith had to deal with her mother.
"A wheelchair is on its way," Judith said, poking her head into the smoky car.
"Don't let Lunkhead push me around in it," Gertrude Grover snapped. "I wouldn't let him haul me from a burning building."
"Don't mention that!" Judith exclaimed. "And stop calling Joe 'Lunkhead.' He's the one who had to load the car and drive for almost two hours to get to Lake Stillasnowamish."
Gertrude hadn't budged from her place in the backseat. In fact, she was lighting another cigarette. "Two hours, my foot. What was he doing, pedaling with his feet? I can move faster with my walker. It used to take us only an hour and a half to get to the family cabin. And that was before they put in the freeway."
"It was the freeway construction that held us up," Judith replied, gnashing her teeth. "Besides, we're ten miles from the cabin." She glanced behind her where the doorman was approaching with a shiny yellow wheelchair. "Here, Mother, I can help you."
"No, you can't," Gertrude retorted. "You'll pop your phony hip. At least my joints are the originals. Not that I couldn't use a few spare parts."
The reference to the artificial hip rankled with Judith. It had been over a year since the replacement surgery, and though she had to be careful not to dislocate it, Judith felt she was getting back to normal. Gertrude, however, liked to remind her daughter that she wasn't normal and never had been.