On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
I discovered the Miss Zukas series several years ago when looking for a “Z” book for my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge.
This book was originally released on December 1, 1996, which means it also works for an entry on my Craving for Cozies Library Card Mini-Challenge as it was released before 2000.
I found a print copy on PaperbackSwap.
On November 18, 2009, it was rereleased for Kindle
by June Creek Books.
It was a pure coincidence that I read this book with a Barbie element the same week the Barbie movie was released.
Miss Zukas and the Raven’s Dance (Miss Zukas Mysteries)
4th in Series
Setting – Washington State
Avon (December 1, 1996)
Mass Market Paperback : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 038078243X
ISBN-13 : 978-0380782437
June Creek Books (November 18, 2009)
Kindle ASIN : B002ZCYRCS
A most unusual death has landed Helma Zukas right in the middle of another murder scene. Stanley Plummer had been cataloging a collection of Native American books for Bellehaven’s new Cultural Center when his body was found in the center’s ladies’ room – stabbed through the heart and clutching a Barbie doll. Miss Zukas is coerced by her conniving boss, library director May Apple Moon, into finishing the dead man’s job at the mysterious center. And, in a letter dated the day he died – it appears the victim himself is asking her to get to the bottom of his murder.
Librarian Helma Zukas is assigned to finish cataloging a collection of Native American books for the new Cultural Center after the original “librarian” is found dead in the ladies bathroom with a paper spike in his chest and a Barbie doll in his hands. Helma is not happy but agrees to complete the job as quickly as possible. Being at the center does put her right at the scene of the crime and her keen sense of observation works overtime especially after she finds a letter from the victim to her about a raven.
Miss Zukas is a bit of an odd duck. She is not an old woman but she sure does act like one. She expects things to be done the right way, her way, which is always right. We are starting to see that she has a heart when she reaches out to help her neighbor and that she has sort of, rescued a cat.
Her boss, May Apple Moon, is a little out there in her life and how she runs the library. Helma’s friend Ruth tests her patience but truly is her best friend. Helma has an interesting relationship with the police chief. The romantic tension is there but it is on a really slow burn. Frankly, everyone, Helma comes in contact with including all the people at the cultural center are pretty darn quirky.
The author has created a really unique cast of characters that are becoming more fleshed out. I think the author has a dry wit and it shows in these stories and catches the reader by surprise when the words come out of the character’s mouths.
The Washington weather was almost a character itself. Deary rainy day after dreary rainy day made me feel sorry for everyone that lived in the region. It did give the story some nice twists but I was hoping and praying that the sun would come out soon.
I do enjoy the way Helma investigates. She ponders, does a little research, considers different options, ponders some more, asks some questions, and then has an aha moment when she finds the clue that makes every other clue fall into place. Being written in 1996, computer technology is sparse and there are no cell phones so when Helga found herself in a bit of a pickle a time or two I had to force myself to remember this.
I did enjoy the Native American history and the people Helma meets as she tries to find answers. A little boy with an interesting talent stole my heart.
Miss Zukas and the Raven’s Dance was an intriguing mystery with characters that really drove the story. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”