Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Huckleberry Finished Review

Huckleberry Finished by Livia J. Washburn

(from the book jacket)

Ain’t no doubt about it: Ben Webster was murdered, broken neck and all. And it turns out, he caused quite a ruckus and made a few enemies before he expired by trying to slug a roulette dealer. Delilah knows the steamship’s no-nonsense head of security definitely is dirty and low-down and just plain old mean…but could he be a murderer? It’s all enough to make her wish she was floating lazily down the Mississippi with Huck and Jim, mainly.

But when someone breaks into and searches her cabin, Delilah is fixin’ to do some seriously sly sleuthing into all of this foolishness. Pretty soon her list of suspects is longer than the Mississippi is wide…not to mention she’s taken quite a shine to Mark Twain himself – or rather Mark Lansing, the handsome actor playing Huck Finn’s scribe for the tour.

But of course things just ain’t never what they seem when Delilah’s at the helm, and one tricky murder turns into two and things start to get pretty dicey on yonder steamboat. Thankfully Delilah’s sassy daughter Melissa is only a phone call away because she’ll need all the help she can get to keep the boat and its passengers from an ending that could only be described as…explosive!

This book is a fast, fun, and light read. Delilah Dickinson is charming and likeable. I have the feeling she would swear like my mother, where all the bad words are replaced by things like ‘fudge ripple’. You can’t help but want things to go right for Delilah. But, of course, things go wrong. And when things start to go wrong it is fun to listen in on all of her theories about who did what and why. I like all the Mark Twain quotes thrown in and how they managed to fit well into the story so they didn’t seem forced. But I’m glad that you don’t have to be a Mark Twain enthusiast to enjoy the book. There are several references to the first book in the series so that you learn about Delilah’s business and her last ill fated tour and perhaps it was mentioned more than it needed to be but this is still very much a stand alone story. There are a lot of interesting characters to muddy the waters but they all belong there and they are realistic and believable so that you do start to like some, hate some and feel sorry for others. The mystery is fun too. There are twists to follow and various pieces to fit together and a nice harrowing climax when everything finally falls into place.

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