Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Paige Shelton, To Helvetica and Back

Paige Shelton, To Helvetica and BackBerkley (January 5, 2016)

A bad title, and unrelated to the content of a pretty good book.  (I am somewhat unsympathetic to "cute" titles, so take that with an appropriate caution.)  Clare Henry, Chester Henry's granddaughter, works with him in his (their, really) store, The Rescued Word, in Star City Utah.  A local writer of romance novels), Mirabelle Montgomery, comes in to have her antique Underwood 5 typewriter repaired, which is one of the things Clare does.  Because this is the sort of person I am, and because, when I was in college in the 1960s, working on the student newspaper, I typed thousands of words on an Underwood upright, I thought I should know what the Model 5 looked like.  And here it is:

(Oh, and that does appear to be an image of an Underwood 5 on the cover.  I couldn't find anything that looked quite like the ones I used.)
That night, a stranger is murdered in the alley behind the store.  Clare's best friend Jodie (a local cop) and Jodie's brother Creighton (another local cop, and someone with whom Clare had recently broken up with) are investigating.  The story moves fairly briskly through goat relocators, a geologist and his stolen geode, to a conclusion involving the past of Homer Wayfair, long-time editor of the local newspaper.  The investigation is carried, really, by Jodie, although Clare's contributions are worthwhile--and, unlike a lot of amateur-detective novels, she shares her discoveries promptly with the cops. 

A very nice first book in what appears to be a series.  I hope Shelton manages the small-town-with-a-lot-of-murders issue better than it usually gets handled.  I definitely to read the second in the series. 

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