Murder Over Easy (Center Point Premier Mystery (Large Print)) Hardcover – Large Print, 1 Apr 2007
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Ms. Evans has created a real small-town landscape in her mysteries. Everyday women with guts and common sense are solving their own problems and helping friends. Okay, they're taking the law into their own hands, but hey--that's where the fun comes in.
The story opens with Wanda Nell getting a call from her boss, Melvin, who owns the Kountry Kitchen diner where Wanda Nell works. Melvin's in jail for the murder of fellow employee Fayetta, who in Southern parlance 'deserved killing' but Wanda Nell certainly didn't want to see her boss get jailed for the crime.
So, Wanda Nell and her sleuthing partner Mayrene set out to clear Melvin's name. On the way, they discover a private men's club and enough scandal to set their small town on its ears. Plus, Wanda Nell has some surprises in store related to her son, TJ.
This novel might have deserved a five had there been more doubt in my mind as to who the murderer actually was. Also, I think Evans needs to do a better job of drawing her characters. Still, Evans has created an interesting and convincing world. I like Wanda Nell and Mayrene and I'll probably find more of her books to read.
Wanda Nell gets a call from her boss Melvin at the jail where he was arrested for murdering his other waitress who was also his lover along with about half the men in town. She was knifed so many times that her bedroom looked like something out of a slasher movie. Wanda Nell knows he couldn't have committed such a heinous crime and she starts investigating on her own to clear his name. She finds a bankbook that has a huge sum of money in it that her peer couldn't earn on a waitress's salary, a list of powerful men she was blackmailing and a key card to a club in which the movers and shakers belong and the women do more than serve food. Both Wanda Nell and Melvin's lawyer are worried, but the spunky investigator is determined that justice will be served even if she has to do it herself.
Fans of regional mysteries are going to find MURDER OVER EASY a refreshingly original who-done-it. The characters act true to type as everyone who lives in a small southern town knows and the heroine, who usually goes with the flow, becomes an independent tornado sweeping away everything in her path as she pursues the investigation her way. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this talented woman who practices what she preaches and hope Jimmie Ruth Evans will write more stories about this intrepid heroine.
Fayetta wasn't a nice person. She and Wanda didn't get along, but no one deserved to die the way she did. So, Wanda Nell decides to try to help Melvin in any way she can. She runs the Kountry Kitchen in his absence, hires Tuck as his lawyer, and does some snooping on her own.
She discovers that Melvin wasn't the only man Fayetta was dating. Plus Wanda Nell finds a bankbook with a large sum in the savings account. There was no way she made that money as a waitress. Wanda Nell works to uncover more about Fayetta's life and those she "worked" with, including a club where it didn't appear she was delivering food. But can Wanda Nell discover the truth without putting herself or her family in jeopardy?
I love this series. Wanda Nell is such a terrific character. I love how she interacts with her kids and grandson, as well as her best friend Mayrene. Tuck is a wonderful character as well. Wanda Nell's mother-in-law is as cantankerous as they come, but that makes it work so well.
The fact that Wanda Nell lives in her double wide mobile home with her 2 daughters and her 16 month old grandson lends a lot of credibility to the story. So does the fact that she has to work two jobs to make ends meet, and then it's still tough.
The setting is great and the plot has plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing who did it until the end. I highly recommend this book and the series.
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Mayrene is so funny and a typical "redneck" southern woman. She'll get her men back on way or another.
Cute second installment
In the first book the author introduced his readers to Wanda Nell and her family and friends, and an eclectic bunch they are. They run the gambit from Wanda Nell's youngest daughter Juliet who does everything she can to make Wanda Nell's life easier to some less than agreeable ex-in-laws and co-workers. One of the more disagreeable characters from the first book only makes an appearance in this book as a corpse and Wanda Nell's boss and friend Melvin Arbuckle is arrested for the crime. Melvin has come to Wanda Nell's aid on many occasions and in this, his time of need, Wanda Nell comes through for him and risks her very life to find the real killer.
The author has done a marvelous job of creating the town of Tullahoma, Mississippi and when Wanda Nell begins her search for the killer there are no shortage of suspects. Before long she finds herself knee deep in a sleazy enterprise that involved the murder victim and some of the most prominent men in town, including the president of the bank that holds her mortgage. Wanda Nell presses on though despite the fact that the police are very standoffish about digging in the dirt that she is finding. Her goal is to turn up more evidence than the police can possibly ignore and eventually she succeeds but the question is whether she is following the correct trail herself.
Just like in the last book, while searching for clues Wanda Nell also has to deal with family problems galore and all of the other trials that come with everyday life. Unlike most amateur sleuths in these cozy mysteries Wanda Nell has to worry about breakfast for her family and washing dirty diapers and such details lend a note of reality to the story. The only drawback to this book is that I was able to figure out who the killer was well before the end of the book despite plenty of red herrings thrown out by the author. Otherwise I found this to be a very believable, very well written and very enjoyable book. If you think that you have troubles, just wait until you get a load of Wanda Nell's life!