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Thursday, September 15th 2005

4:17 AM


A book informed by the authors own genealogy

Reviewed by Lesa Holstine

Donis Casey’s first mystery is filled with the historic details of the day-to-day life on an Oklahoma farm in the winter of 1912. After Casey did genealogy research on her family, and her husband’s, she had enough stories to fill ten books. Along with the wonderful detail, the reader gets romance, mystery, and the likeable character of Alafair Tucker.

Alafair has plenty to do taking care of the house, her husband and nine children at a time when daily life was not easy. She doesn’t need to take on a murder case as well. But no one seems to care when Harley Day is found murdered. His family certainly doesn’t care. Over the years, they were threatened and abused by the moonshining drunk. Everyone in town seems happy he’s gone, but Harley’s oldest son, John Lee, is the primary suspect. Alafair's own family life is complicated further when she learns that her seventeen year old daughter, Phoebe, has been spending time with John Lee. If she has to track down the killer to keep her daughter happy, she’ll do it.

Casey used detailed stories from her own family to create the daily life of the Tucker family in Oklahoma. Farm life was not easy in Oklahoma in 1912, and Casey doesn’t pretend it was. Alafair Tucker has to work her murder investigation around her daily work schedule on the farm. Details of the preparation and food used in meals, careers of the children, and the life of a small community enhance the story. The two page description of Monday’s washday is fascinating.

Hopefully, there will be a number of Alafair Tucker stories in the future that tell the story of strong farm women in the early nineteenth century. Casey’s web site is www.doniscasey.com


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