A gently told tale of mystery and mayhem
This gently told cozy series features two older people for whom love is better the second time around. Carrie McCrite and Henry King, a retired policeman from Kansas City, have the best of intentions but still get caught up in other people’s problems, mayhem and murders.
A FAIR TO DIE FOR takes place during the War Eagle Craft Fair, and begins with a phone call from Carrie’s long lost cousin Edie, whose excuse for looking up Carrie is suspicious. Edie spells trouble and seems unusually interested in the War Eagle Craft Fair. Carrie and Henry are too well-mannered to throw her out, so they go along with her strange behavior and even stranger excuses. Eventually they are drawn into what seems to be a drug smuggling operation and murder.
Curiosity and a misguided sense of safety set Carrie up for kidnapping and brutalization. I admit I cringed when reading about the rough treatment handed out by Carrie’s kidnappers. However, the author injects a bit of humor to relieve some of the tension in this part of the story.
Carrie has left a copy of Eugene Peterson’s THE MESSAGE Bible on a table in her home. Henry, almost wiped out by worry, picks up the book, reads a passage and then compares it with the same passage in the King James version. The King James version: “Blessed is the man that walketh in the counsel of the ungodly.” Peterson’s version: “How well God must like you—You don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.”
When Carrie is under pressure her mind works like a steel trap, and her response to peril is both believable and satisfying. The story also touches on a moral dilemma — the Stockholm Syndrome, so-called when kidnap victims begin to identify with their captors.
The series has won several awards, and Nehring is justly celebrated in Arkansas for her portrayal of the state’s attractions as settings for her mysteries. Books in the series are:
A VALLEY TO DIE FOR (2002);
MUSIC TO DIE FOR (2003) set in Ozark Folk Center State Park;
A TREASURE TO DIE FOR (2005) set in Hot Springs National Park;
A WEDDING TO DIE FOR (2006) set in the Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs;
A RIVER TO DIE FOR (2008) set on the Buffalo National River
JOURNEY TO DIE FOR (2010) set during an excursion by train.
and this one, A FAIR TO DIE FOR (June 2012) set during the War Eagle Craft Fair.
For the curious – I looked up a couple of things.
There’s information on The Message bible by Eugene Peterson at Wikipedia:
The site also compares three versions of The 23rd Psalm and The Lord’s Prayer – the King James version, the New International version and The Message version.
Information on the War Eagle Craft Show is at:
At the Bean Palace Restaurant on the third floor of the Mill, the lunch specialty is beans and cornbread, made with cornmeal ground on a 150-year old stone buhr mill on the first floor of the Mill. Henry and Carrie have just finished lunch there when she is kidnapped.
The author’s web site is at: