||July 2, 2012
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Imogene Duckworthy, who yearns to be a PI, has landed a job assisting Mike Mallett in Wymee Falls, Texas. Bringing home a pot-bellied pig as a birthday gift for her daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy, Immy discovers the body of the owner of Jerry's Jerky hanging in the smokeroom. Now she has her chance to prove her skills.
Imogene Duckworthy, who yearns to be a PI, has landed a job assisting a real PI in Wymee Falls, Texas. During a sidetrip while bringing home a pot-bellied pig as a birthday gift for her daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy, Immy discovers the owner of the local jerky shop dead, hanging from a meathook in his own smokehouse. The pig breeder, Amy JoBeth, is implicated, so Immy feels compelled to try to find the real killer. That gentle, somewhat depressed swineherd couldn't have killed Rusty Bucket. Could she?
Imogene Duckworthy did not like pigs. She was fairly fond of cattle, having grown up surrounded by them. She hadn't been around pigs much. Until now she would never have been driving toward a pig farm.
Immy drove the family vehicle, an ancient Dodge van, out of Saltlick, a small Texas town with at least one foot planted firmly in the last century, and down the highway where cattle ranches, thickets of mesquite, and a few old oil wells stretched to the horizon. Cowboy country, not pig country. Not a pig in sight.
Her daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy, three-years-old-going-on-four, who was squealing like a pig in her car seat, adored swine. Drew had recently transferred her passion from Barbie dolls to pigs (with a brief interlude of worshipping hippopotamuses--because she liked saying the word). Since Immy loathed the fixation on Barbies, she was trying really hard to like pigs.
In fact, she was on her way to pick one out for Drew's upcoming birthday.
"Pig, pig, pig!" squealed Drew. "I'm getting a big, big pig!"
Immy cringed. Not too big, she hoped.
Ralph Sandoval, who had come along to help handle the animal looked back at the child. "Yes. A big big pig." Immy glanced over and they were both grinning like maniacs.
"They're miniature potbellied pigs, y'all. Not big ones."
Her statement didn't dampen their enthusiasm at all. They kept up a chant of "Big big pig," until she turned the van up the dirt road that led to the pig breeder's place, just outside the neighboring town of Cowtail. The van bumped over the dry dirt, raising even more glee from Drew.
The ancient, bilious green van belonged to Immy's mother, with whom she and Drew lived, and was their only vehicle. But it was a trusty old thing.
Immy would do anything for her daughter, but she wondered if this was the right thing. Her mother thought Drew should have a pig. Drew certainly wanted a pig. But the money to pay for it was making a dent, a ravine--no, a crater in the pile Immy had saved to buy herself a car. A nice, clean, used car that had shiny paint and no rattles. Or maybe less rattles than the van.
After the dent made by the payment for her online PI course, the pile of savings was more of an ant hill. Not a big fire ant hill, either, a puny mound made by those Yankee red ants.
Road dust blew in the windows and Immy reluctantly raised them. The van had no AC and this close to the Fourth of July in Texas was damn hot. Immy didn't like the windows closed at all, though. Confinement made her feel like she couldn't breathe. Maybe that came from living in a small single-wide, or maybe that time she locked herself in the bathroom for three hours when she was five had scarred her for life. Whatever caused the fear, her breath came shallow and quick with the windows rolled up.
By the time she negotiated the ruts and arrived at the house and outbuildings, Immy was drenched in sweat. She took a moment to wipe off with the paper towels she kept in the vehicle, then climbed out and unbuckled Drew from her seat in the back.
Drew, growing shy now that she was, potentially, free to run to the pigs in the nearby pens, clutched her mother's jeans in the hand that didn't hold a small rubber pig.
Ralph came around to stand beside them. They almost looked like a little family, Immy thought. Well, except that Ralph wasn't little. The sole underling to the police chief of Saltlick, he was ex-high-school-football-player large. Out of uniform, as he was now, he was only slightly less intimidating. He hoisted Drew to his shoulder. Immy worried with her daughter so awfully far from the ground. Drew didn't look scared at all.
Immy surveyed Amy JoBeth Anderson's farm as they walked toward the smell. A neat white ranch house with a storm cellar off to the side, a sparkling clean, white pickup parked at other side. A red barn and tractor shed twenty yards or so to the right. A few large live oaks dotting the front yard. She glimpsed more hanging over the pig pens in the back. The scene was serene, idyllic. The stench was not.
clever, funny and entertaining!
clever, funny and entertaining! July 21, 2012
By RP Dahlke
This is Kaye George's second in the Imogene Duckworthy (every time I say that name I have to smile) series. The characters all have colorful names, Hortense, and Tinny Bucket, and her husband, Beryl, better known as Rusty... as in Rusty Bucket. Hilarious!
All of the characters seem to live up to their wildly colorful names. And Immi, as friends and family call her, is certainly a character. Barely out of her teens, she's a single mom with a four year old daughter, a job she's hanging onto, living in a backwater Texas town, and has aspirations, or as my grandmother would say, gumption--she wants to become a private investigator.
You would think Immi is fooling herself, wouldn't you? She should be taking secretarial courses, or nursing, or something useful. Ha! Ms. Goerge does a great job of convincing readers that they should root for Immi and her heartfelt desire to solve crimes and become a P.I. I know I sure did.
There's laughter, red-herrings that throw her (and us) off the right track, but Immi prevails in a way that made me want to hug her, which I think would surprise her, as she doesn't seem to think she's anything special.
And that, my friends, is the beauty of a really good author. Someone whose deft writing makes you want to live around the corner so you can catch up on the characters.
I sure hope there will be more of Imogene Duckworthy (who makes me smile) for some time to come.
Kaye George deftly weaves murder, an unwed young mom with private investigator aspirations, an entertaining supporting cast, a dash of romance, and the cutest pig since Charlotte's Web, into a delightful mystery that's sure to keep readers up past their bedtimes. Kaye George, and her likeable sleuth Immy Duckworthy, are a couple of ladies to watch.
Stacy Juba, author of Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim
A Texas-sized slice of murder and mayhem, makes for a fun, fast-paced read.
--Rhys Bowen, Agatha and Anthony-winning author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness series
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