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Hell with the Lid Blown Off by Donis Casey

Hell with the Lid Blown Off” is the 7th in the Alafair Tucker Mysteries by Donis Casey.  Alafair Tucker is an Oklahoma farm wife and mother in the early years of the 20th century.  In this installment the Tucker family and their neighbors experience a huge, destructive twister.  Not all of their neighbors make it through including a conniving, disliked young man.  The coroner discovers that that victim, Jubal Beldon, was killed before the twister and was then repositioned to make it look like he died in the storm. Alafair helps the sheriff and his deputy to figure out who had something to gain from Beldon’s demise and who had the means and ability to kill the man.

The book is written from the point of view of Trenton Calder, the deputy sheriff and secret admirer of  Ruth Tucker, the 17 year old daughter of Alafair and a talented pianist.  Ruth generally stays in town with her piano teacher, Beckie MacKenzie.

The book is full of great character descriptions and amusing scenarios between characters that bring back the nostalgia of the early 20th century in rural America.  The nostalgia is tempered by the menacing storm and the strange and seemingly random destruction it wreaks. Those charming vignettes about ordinary life in Boynton, OK are also punctuated by the investigation into the death of Jubal Beldon and discovery about what a despicable rat he was.  In the end it is impossible to really blame anyone for his death.  Good riddance!

Hell with the Lid Blown Off” is a charming and nostalgic stroll through the lives of families in small town America in 1916 and the destructive forces, both natural and human, that can tear these lives apart in an instant.

Recommended reading for all lovers of early Americana and Historical mysteries.

Liz Nichols

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