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Hornswaggled: An Alafair Tucker Mystery    by Donis Casey order for
by Donis Casey
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Old Buzzard Had It Coming introduced Alafair Tucker to the mystery world. Hornswaggled continues to track Alafair through thick and thin - though she tends to run more to thick than thin in her daily life. In this case, she isn't too sure the man her daughter Alice wants to marry is the right man for her - or for anyone, for that matter. He sure wasn't the right one for his late wife Louise. Did he kill Louise or cause her to be killed? And can he be trusted with Alafair's beautiful though willful daughter?

The time and place are the early twentieth century in rural Oklahoma. Casey's research into that wind down period of the Victorian era has given her the ability to divorce readers from today's world and take them back in time to enjoy what could have been our mothers' and grandmothers' daily lives. So many new inventions and foods. Women were starting to rebel about being tied to a husband, a house and kids. They wanted more - as does Alice. A rich man seems the way out for her. Alafair's husband and his brother, the sheriff, fear for Alafair's wellbeing but seem in awe of her skills and downright forthrightness in routing out the truth.

I liked the depiction of the life the people in this small town lived, as my mother was a wee girl then and told me so much of those days and of her own mother who refused to use a telephone - she was frightened of the newfangled thing. But the shining star in this story is the complicated plot line that never strays from the tale as it winds from one character to another. Hornswaggled is a well-written book that keeps the reader guessing until the end.

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