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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Season's Revenge: A Christmas Mystery by Henry Kisor | LibraryThing

I first encountered Henry Kisor when I read his terrific book on the California Zephyr, traveling as a deaf man ( For years he was the book editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, and I once invited him to come speak at my college to discuss the difficulties faced by the hearing-impaired.  A delightful man.  I had no idea he had written a series of mysteries and was very pleased to see how good they are.  He has another book on learning to fly and make a cross-country flight as a hearing-impaired pilot.  Guy has guts.

Steve Martinez is a Lakota Sioux raised by white foster parents who grew up out east, went to Cornell, was an MP in the army, and then joined the Porcupine County sheriff’s department.  (Kisor has a cabin in the UP so the scenery is familiar - he waxes familiarly on the differences between city and country people.)  Porcupine County is in the UP (Upper Peninsula) where the seasons are simply “winter, winter, winter, and black flies.)

The local political bigwig, Paul Passoja, is found mauled by a bear after he went camping in the deep woods. The autopsy revealed early stages of Alzheimer’s and the man had been depressed recently so all signs pointed to an accidental death.  The bear that did it was caught so that seemed to end that.  But something just doesn’t seem right to Martinez  who had found bits of bacon grease on the man, an accomplished woodsman, who knew better than to have any food near him in the tent in bear country.

Not a book for those who have to have a shooting, beating, or other violence on every page, this book develops the characters in a very nice way that has you liking them before you know it.  Good mystery, lots of interesting information, and a nice romance.

On a personal note, I’d like to point out that being a sheriff’s deputy in a large county such as we have in the Midwest or West is no small task.  The area to be covered is immense and often there might be only two deputies to cover many square miles.  The chief deputy of an Iowa county I know, remarked that at night, he was responsible for 2400 square miles (the county was roughly 60 miles by 40 miles.)  Try hustling to an accident at the far end of the county during a blizzard.

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