Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series
In case you’re wondering, yes, the pot thief, Hubie Shuze, really does study D.H, Lawrence. I got the impression he preferred a book he was reading on the history of zero, so if you’re not a Lawrence fan, relax, you’re in good company. And Hubie is always good company, unless of course you’re his girlfriend Dolly and he seems incapable of grasping that you’re going into perimenopause and having a very tough time of it. Ah, Hubie, that should not have been a mystery.
As for the murder mystery: The setting at the Lawrence ranch and the aspect of the plot that revolves around stealing a Taos Pueblo pot were the best parts. (The usual fun with Hubie, Susannah, Martin, Tristan, et al, was enjoyable, as were the discussions of Lawrence and of cooking with juniper berries.) I confess I struggled to keep track of all the new characters who showed up in a single scene as guests at the ranch. I suspect the author wanted the reader to attempt to use the memory technique Hubie does when he meets them. It didn’t work for me. I had to flip back to the scene a few times to get them sorted out, and one of them still eluded me as to what he looked like and what he did for a living even by the end.(Saunders … Who was Saunders?)
The mystery was solved more as a math or logic problem than a matter of motive, and that was clever. But the killer’s motives are not fully available to the reader until the end, so the unless the reader follows the same logical process Hubie uses to deduce who the killer is, she can’t solve the mystery before he does. (Unless I missed something, but I usually don’t—except for Saunders.)
Was the killer’s method plausible? Not to me. It would be a spoiler to say more, but this will make sense if you’ve already read the book. I’ve seen people doing what this person did in order to get away with murder, and learned how to do it myself, and up close, it’s not convincing. Did it make an engaging plot? Yes. A great puzzle to solve? Yes, even though I didn’t believe it could have happened.
So, I enjoyed the book anyway. While it wasn’t my favorite Pot Thief book—I like the ones before and the later Georgia O’Keefe one better—it nonetheless provided the usual intellectual stimulus, humor, and touches of history.