Although I have several of her Dolls To Die For Mysteries on my bookshelves, Murder Talks Turkey is the first Deb Baker novel that I've read, actually. What a hoot! Yep, her other books have now moved waaaaaaaay up on my TBR list. I'll admit, before reading this book, I had NO clue as to the definition of a Yooper - in fact, I don't believe I've ever heard the term before. Shocking, eh? Deb Baker does the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and its inhabitants proud.
Having spent the majority of my life in places in the West where absolutely everyone over the age of 10 knows how to use a firearm - the enclave of quirky characters residing in Stonely, Michigan totally resonates with me. Gertie Johnson, 66-year-old grandmother and widow, along with her good friends Cora Mae and Kitty, make up the Trouble Buster Investigative Company. Although their business is in its infancy, they have garnered their first real paying client - sort of. The investigation has barely gotten off the ground, when the Stonely Credit Union is robbed, with Gertie and Cora Mae inside. The robber is brought down by gunfire, but the real mystery begins when none of the sheriff's men take credit for the kill, and the dead robber is found to be holding a bag full of play money.
What transpires is a testament to Murphy's Law, "what can go wrong, will go wrong," and it does - with a vengeance. It reminds me of when one hears a story that is so incredibly unbelievable that it just might be true. Who could make up this stuff, you know? Gertie gets herself in so much hot water that there doesn't seem to be ANY way out, but with the help of her good friends and family (even the irascible Grandma Johnson), Gertie manages to come out smelling like a rose, albeit a bit worse for wear.
The book is very fast paced - I read it in just an afternoon. The characters are full-bodied and enjoyable, and Gertie's sarcastic wit had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. The ending portends interesting things to come - I'll definitely be on the look out for the next Yooper Mystery!
Carol Ann Hopkins 5/5/2008