My review rating: 5 of 5 stars
By Sylvia Dickey Smith
Pirates, smugglers, and murder in Texas
Texas has swamps and bayous? Who knew? Kind of goes against my image of dusty, dry Texas, with the tumbling, tumbling weeds. But I suppose along the coast you would find swamps and bayous. Author Sylvia Dickey Smith has made the area come vividly alive for me, complete with mosquitos, crocodiles or is it alligators, and Spanish moss.
DEAD WRECKONING is an unusual mystery combining the paranormal, a dog, and an older female sleuth, but Sid Smart is no Miss Marple. She is plagued by doubts and insecurities. She left her abusive husband, and the confining world of being a minister’s wife, to build a new life as a private detective. Insecure in her new romantic relationship with Ben and unsure of her abilities as a newly licensed PI, she struggles to save her client from being convicted of murder. Boo, an old woman, claims to have found Jean Lafitte’s schooner, Hotspur, out in the bayou, but when she and her cousin, Sasha, return the next day the schooner is gone. Instead they find Sasha’s husband’s body. Since Boo shot at Zeke the day before, Sasha blames Boo and she is arrested. Sid is on the case, uncovering old pirates, modern smugglers, and ruthless treasure hunters. Visiting the scene of the crime she sees a ghost ship, with a beautiful and buxom lady pirate. Later a gentleman out of the 19th century visits her with a cryptic message. Are they ghosts? Real or just illusions? Sid isn’t sure and neither are we.
I really liked Sid Smart and all her baggage as she struggles to break free of the old confining church life where her husband demanded that she be the perfect minister’s wife. As a former minister’s wife myself, I could relate to her hang-ups and. And her relationship with her dog, almost supernatural. Then there are all the colorful, and I do mean colorful, characters. The writing is good, descriptions vivid. It is well edited, grammar and spelling, but I found myself having to re-read passages to comprehend them a few times.
The solution to why Sasha’s husband was killed was rather obvious, and surprisingly Sid nor the cops never seemed to consider it as a possibility. But the unraveling of the mystery moved along nicely, going in some interesting directions, and coming to a rousing conclusion. DEAD WRECKONING is a delightful mystery, well worth your time and attention, if you like mysteries with a touch of Southern charm. I certainly hope Sid Smart gets her detective agency rebuilt and there will be many more cases in the future.
Reviewed by Linda Suzane April 26, 2009 www.midnightblood.com
By Sylvia Dickey Smith
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: L & L Dreamspell (March 11, 2009)