A Gus LeGarde Mystery
By Aaron Paul Lazar
Once again Gus LeGarde welcomes us into his home. And while he's shucking corn and shelling peas, preparing enough dinner that we just know we'll be invited, we sit back and begin to feel comfortable with this man who has surrounded himself with family, including his new wife, Camille. As I was thinking about writing my review, I had an interesting vision--of what had taken place in that home since the last novel!
Sure, life went on as usual for his daughter and grandchildren and for Siegfried who lives on the property in a separate building, but for Camille, she was moving into an established house, needing to find a way to make that house her home. I think she was successful because by the time we are visiting in Firesong, the latest book in this series, she has begun to explore the history of the house and the details of the architecture. In fact, she has discovered her own mystery--was her new home once a shelter for slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad?!!
So while she is exploring, tapping walls, she finds that Mary Hill, once the owner of their house was a "conductor" of that Railroad. Readers will be enchanted as further history of their home is provided, leading to the discovery of a secret room in their house...and much more!
But it was at church that the latest town mischief occurred--and it was caused by a major storm and tornado that caused considerable damage to the church. In fact, the storm began just at the beginning of a service and everybody was forced to relocate to the ground floor. Reverend Nahum Hardina was quick to help members of his congregation, and I wanted to introduce him early because he became a major character in FireSong when someone tried to kill him...and he was accused!
It all started when a body was discovered after the storm...
Hunting clothes remaining on the skeleton, together with a rifle and license quickly led to the identification of the body as Colin Springer. His disappearance had been quite a mystery and there had been stories of missing money and a possible trip with another woman as the reasons he had never been found. Now it looked like he had died from a hunting accident victim.
But he had been murdered! And, of course, Gus manages to be involved with most of the investigation!
It is always in the midst of Ordinary that something seems to happen in the LeGarde family home. Seigfried had suggested to Johnny that they go camping, so with his mother's consent and lots of food, Seigfried and Johnny head for the hills...
Gus woke in the middle of that night from storm lightning. Immediately he thought of the two campers and jumped up to go to them. Arriving just in time, he got Johnny and Seigfried awake but just then lightning struck a tree, flames sprung from everywhere in the dry woods caused by a drought. Soon all three were surrounded by fire!
And then they heard the song. "What's dat song, Opa?" Johnny asked again. (p. 194)
Just like I said, Gus invites you into his home for dinner and before long, there's a dead body, an accused Reverend who by the way is drugged and in a coma, terror during a forest fire, and so much more--all leading to solving the crimes from this century as well as the past! Ok, I'll give you a hint, Mary Hill's skeleton was also discovered, along with the body of a slave...
I love Aaron Lazar's books! His style is homespun background that continues to flow daily while readers are tossed into tragedy, terror and some of the best mysteries you will find! If you haven't read Lazar, I highly recommend that you start at the beginning of a series. Sure, you can read FireSong immediately and thoroughly become involved and enjoy it. But I promise you're going to want to read the whole series...so don't say I didn't warn you! Highly recommended!