Select one of the keywords
Murder in Burnt Orange: A Hilda Johansson Book    by Jeanne M. Dams order for
Murder in Burnt Orange
by Jeanne M. Dams
Order:  USA  Can
Perseverance Press, 2011 (2011)
*   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Murder in Burnt Orange is the seventh in the Hilda Johansson mystery series. It takes place in South Bend, Indiana, where the times are troubling. Unions are trying to move into the industries in the city in the early 1900s, Studebaker being one.

Hilda Johansson (now Cavanaugh) is large with child and, with an unusually hot summer, she finds it hard to be light on her feet. But several of her relatives entreat her to investigate the recent train wreck that killed two of the trainmen and seriously injured another. Though it is viewed as an act of incompetence, they seem to feel it could have been deliberate.

A fire threatens the family store and Hilda's husband's livelihood. A ne'er-do-well cousin of her husband's appears back in town with disastrous consequences. A lot of skullduggery occurs in the background, but Hilda keeps up-to-date with various cohorts, including a member of the local police force.

Hilda is a strong character. She makes use of friends to learn what she must as she is unable to do the snooping she feels is necessary. Unfortunately, I found the novel a bit slow. When I read one of this series, I can always imagine Hilda scurrying from one incident to another. I missed that.

However, the plot was a good one with many references from history that readers will recognize. The setting was really the interior of Hilda's house. I missed South Bend also. A lovely surprise finishes the book. I did see this coming and was glad to be proven right. I look forward to Hilda getting back in the town, pursuing justice.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews