Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Review: 'Murder by Reference' by D.R. Meredith

Texas author D.R. Meredith who has gained her solid reputation as a mystery and romance novelist through her many novels and also through her participation in writers’ conferences and seminars at The Governor’s Sesquicentennial Conference on Literary Arts at the University of North Texas, Emporia State University, Rice University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, West Texas State A& M University, as well as speaking on panels with Western Writers of America, Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and Romance Writers of America. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and The American Crime Writers League, and from her home in Amarillo, Texas she continues to pen mystery series set in the Texas Panhandle and elsewhere. Meredith is the book review editor for ROUNDUP MAGAZINE. Impressive!

A factor that enhances the reading experience is a note from the author at a book’s opening, offering some background for the stimuli that blossoms into a story. Meredith agrees and states, ‘To those curious souls who may visit the Panhandle-Plains Museum in Canyon, Texas, expecting to find it as I described it in Murder by Reference will be disappointed. Pioneer Town is still there, but has been updated, renovated, otherwise changed from what it was when I wrote of John Lloyd's and Lydia's adventures. Sarah Jane is real if you choose to believe the stories that have floated about through the years, unacknowledged by university and museum personnel. If you don't believe in ghosts, consider suspending your disbelief at least while reading the book. Like John Lloyd, Sarah Jane exists only if you believe in her. The stacks were at the time I wrote the book exactly as I described. When I toured that area with the museum director at that time, two mannequins loomed out of the darkness and scared the very devil out of both of us. I couldn't resist using the episode. There really was a room lost during the various renovations to the museum over the years. A staff member who had worked there for several years showed it to me. I doubt any of the present staff know of its existence--if it does still exist.’ Curiosities stimulated well and the story begins.

For those for whom this is the first exposure to Meredith’s John Lloyd Mysteries, follow the synopsis - John Lloyd Branson, reputed to be the best criminal defense attorney Texas. In his formal three-piece suits, cowboy boots, Phi Beta Kappa key, he is certainly the most eccentric. He is assisted by his legal clerk, Lydia Fairchild. ‘In a variation of the classic locked room mystery, Attorney John Lloyd Branson and his beautiful, trusted, but often impetuous legal assistant, Lydia Fairchild scare up ghosts from the past and rattle family skeletons as they try to discover who murdered the young museum curator. It's no Halloween trick when Brad Hemphill materializes in a locked museum at midnight, the main feature in a prehistoric display. Who among the museum staff would kill the harmless, mild-mannered young curator, and why? What deadly secret did Hemphill know that made him a target for murder?’

A very strange murder that unravels into a story that maintains the readers attention to the last page. Meredith writes in the quality of the best of mystery writers. Once she seduces you into her novel she holds you captive. Strong work! Grady Harp, March 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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