BOOK & BLOG
Sept. 24, 2006
Book of the Week: MURDER OVER EASY by Jimmie Ruth Evans
I had a happy experience this week. I opened my friend Jimmie Ruth Evanss new book, MURDER OVER EASY, and found the book was dedicated to me. What a thrill, and I was surprised and delighted. Jimmy Ruth Evans is actually my friend Dean James, so it was doubly obvious that I had to read this book immediately. However, that didnt make it a sure thing that Id like it.
What made the experience even happier was that I did like MURDER OVER EASY; I liked it a lot. Jimmie Ruths writing skill grows with each book, and I could tell the new book was head and shoulders above the first Wanda Nell Culpepper novel, FLAMINGO FATALE and FLAMINGO was a good book.
Wanda Nell is a waitress by day, a shelf stocker by night, as she works hard to keep her family afloat. Wanda Nells worthless husband died in FLAMINGO, but they had been long separated, so Wanda Nell is used to coping. Shes just a great character; resilient, practical, curious, and an expert at holding her explosive temper. With kids like hers, she needs the expertise.
The action in MOE is triggered by the death of another waitress (Fayetta) at the diner where Wanda Nell works, and the arrest of the owner, Melvin Arbuckle, whod been romancing Fayetta. Worse, though Fayetta has been killed in her home, the murder weapon is a knife from the diner. Wanda Nell knows Melvin didnt kill Fayetta, and she wants to know who did. Along the way, the sturdy waitress learns more than she wanted to know about Fayettas secrets, and a few things about her own family that she didnt know, too.
I really enjoyed this book. Since the story line doesnt call for explicit sex, there isnt any, making it a great gift for a reader who balks at the inclusion of this activity in mysteries.
Im packing my bags, like Sookie will in ALL TOGETHER DEAD when she heads off to Rhodes to the vampire summit. I hope to have better luck in my travels than she does; and Ill be flying on American or Delta, I think, rather than Anubis Air. With any luck, there wont be demons or homicidal lawyers on the plane.
I always have mixed feelings when I set out on the road. I love to meet bookpeople, both sellers and buyers. I love talking to people who have read my work and enjoyed it, and people who are just thinking of buying my work. Im proud of my books, and signing them gives me a thrill. I adore room service, and not having to make my own bed. And the past few years when Ive been lucky enough to have a media escort in some cities, Ive gotten addicted to the relaxation afforded by having one of these wonderful people on hand. When youre in your third or fourth city, having a driver who knows where youre going and who youre talking to when you get there, and how to open the books you need to sign . . . well, thats just a wonderful luxury.
But Im always wondering if my son put out the trash on time, and if someone remembered to feed the dogs. Ill miss some of my daughters volleyball games, and the pleasure of my husbands company. Ill talk to more people in a few days than I normally talk to in a month.
After all, theres a reason writers work by themselves.
Bottom line: since I cant be two places at one time, I really am the most fortunate person, so get to travel and meet so many nice people. But its always nice to come home, even if the laundry is piled up and everything in the kitchen is in the wrong place.
® 2010 Charlaine Harris