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The Huckleberry Murders by Patrick F. McManus

I found reading “The Huckleberry Murders” installment of McManus’ Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery series a delightful way to spend a weekend.

Everyone has someone like Bo Tully in the family. He’s the favorite uncle who is the big tease, or the guy next door who says exactly what you want to hear in order to get his way. Tully is especially effective around the single ladies of Blight County, Idaho so he always has enough female company to play the field.

Bo learned his charm school manners from his Pap, the former Sheriff of Blight County who was known to operate on both sides of the law in the good old days. Bo seems to stay on the right side of the law, but he shaves procedure a bit when it will expedite justice.

In the Huckleberry Murders Bo discovers three recently executed young farm workers in the middle of his prize huckleberry patch on Scotchman Mountain in federal forest land and he initiates an investigation before calling in the FBI. The FBI gets wind of the case and sends in a lone female agent, Angela Phelps, who becomes another of Sheriff Tully’s love interests, as well as his partner in solving the crime.

The crime-fighting duo and their deputized helpers must determine whether the murder of the young men is related to the disappearance and presumed murder of a retired rancher, Orville Poulson. They suspect the ranch manager, Ray Crockett, for that possible murder, for Poulson’s social security checks are mysteriously being cashed and Crockett had means and motive to get rid of Poulson.

One of the most refreshing aspects about McManus’ writing is that he is downright funny. The characters get in to humorous situations, such as the walk through a swamp in waders that Tully and Phelps take, and the subsequent rafting trip that they take when they discover there is too much quicksand to walk through the swamp.

I’m sure I’ll visit Blight County through McManus’ books again soon.

Liz Nichols

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