Here’s a good example, if readers still need one, of a crime novel that fits comfortably into the fine tradition of fiction that relies on good writing, a fine plot, odd and usual suspects, and an interesting setting. The author relies on a good story rather than tortured or crass language, logical development rather than constant physical action.
Carrie King, a neighborly, bright, woman of late middling years, and her husband, Henry King, a retired cop from Kansas City, are exploring Arkansas history with a trip on a restored train to a small historic community on the shores of the Arkansas River. At the halfway point, passengers leave the train to enjoy a brief sojourn in the town of Van Buren. When Carrie and Henry reach the river and see a large historic mural to study, the possibility of encountering a dead body is the farthest thing from their minds. But alas, there it is. And then there are the buttons.
A charming and delightful mystery ensues. Nehring’s unerring ear for dialog and her sense of what constitutes a well-rounded character serve the reader well as the Kings travel between home, Van Buren, and Kansas City where Henry had a solid career as a police officer. There have been allusions in the past to Henry’s rather abrupt retirement and in a powerful emotional scene at the Van Buren police station, Carrie and readers will receive serious and deep insight into Henry’s secret.
In the fine tradition of traditional American mysteries, A Journey to Die for is an excellent and satisfying entry in this author’s “to die for” series.