"Hell with the Lid Blown Off" -- A Tornado-Driven Mystery Novel Set in Eastern Oklahoma in 1916
On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Donis Casey, a mystery author and former librarian who is originally from Oklahoma and has been based in Arizona for many years. "Hell with the Lid Blown Off" -- the seventh title in Casey's popular Alafair Tucker series -- is newly available, and (as with the rest of Casey's fiction) this novel draws heavily upon her Oklahoma roots...as well as the roots of her Sooner State relatives. As was noted of "Hell with the Lid Blown Off" in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "A huge tornado brings unexpected trouble to the people of Boynton, Okla., in Casey's excellent seventh Alafair Tucker mystery (after 2012's 'The Wrong Hill to Die On'). One day in the summer of 1916, a twister blows Jubal Beldon's body into a field, but no one is very sorry, since he was a most unpleasant man. When it's discovered that Jubal was murdered before the tornado, suspicion falls on 17-year-old Ruth Tucker's beloved music teacher, Beckie MacKenzie. Alafair, a farmer's wife, uses her innate knowledge of human nature to help, while Sheriff Scott Tucker and his deputy, Trenton Calder, follow their own theories. As the action builds to a surprising denouement, Casey provides an engaging portrait of the close-knit society that was commonly found in the rural Midwest at the time. Alafair Tucker, her large family, and their friends are a pleasure to spend time with."