No other mystery author brings the American past to life for me as Donis Casey does. Her new book, The Sky Took Him, is the fourth in the fascinating Alafair Tucker series. Her books are always intriguing, and this one is particularly complicated, but it's what she does with everyday life in Oklahoma in the early twentieth century that continues to draw me back.
When the story opens, Alafair and two of her daughters, her oldest, Martha, and her youngest, Grace, are on the train to Enid, Oklahoma. Alafair's younger sister, Ruth Ann, asked her to come because Ruth Ann's husband, Lester, is dying. When they arrive, they find that Lester is as bad off as everyone said, but there are other family problems. Ruth Ann's son-in-law, Kenneth, has disappeared on a business trip just when his wife, Olivia, and the family, need him the most. Ruth Ann and Olivia are confident he'll be back shortly, but the longer Alafair stays, the more she learns about Kenneth's business problems, and his dealings with a ruthless man in town, the more concerned she grows. And, she and little Grace seem to share some troubling dreams.
As usual, Casey provides mystery readers with a complicated story. But, she also tells the story of life in the early twentieth century. Martha is a modern working woman, proud of her job, and unwilling to give it up for marriage. Casey tells of the changing role of women, the Oklahoma oil fields, and, in this book, the story of the run for land in Oklahoma. It's hard to believe that at the time of the book, 1915, Enid was just celebrating twenty-two years as a city with a Founder's Day Jubilee.
The Sky Took Him has mystery, a little romance, history, recipes, and Founder's Day. The book contains fine details of daily life, and family life, in 1915, as well as the foreshadowing of war. It's hard to believe it's just two weeks in Alafair Tucker's life because The Sky Took Him is so rich in detail. Donis Casey continues to grow as an author of fascinating historical mysteries.
Donis Casey's website is www.doniscasey.com. Casey will be discussing The Sky Took Him at the debut program at Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. Hope to see you there!
The Sky Took Him by Donis Casey. Poisoned Pen Press, ©2009. ISBN 978-1-59058-571-9 (hardcover), 252p.