Book Review – After You’ve Gone by Kay Kendall

After You’re Gone
Kay Kendall
Austin Starr Prequel
Paperback: 278 pages
Stairway Press
February 12, 2019 $14.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-941071-91-5
Genre: Mystery

BLURB: When a long-lost relative turns up on the run from his rum-running mob boss and soon dies in a freak accident in small-town Texas during Prohibition, only 23-year-old Wallie believes it was murder. Driven by her love for Sherlock Holmes tales, Wallie pursues the truth and in doing so encounters flappers and floozies, Chicago thugs sent by Al Capone, and a crime lord of the sinful port city of Galveston. Indulged by her father the judge but urged by her prim aunt to be a proper lady, Wallie plays amateur sleuth while courted by two eligible suitors. Will she stay alive long enough to figure out which one is her true love?

REVIEW: It was a delight to step back in time and meet Wallie, who is named Walter after her father. There was never a son to pass on the name, so Wallie, an only child, becomes the lucky inheritor. She doesn’t mind, though. She adores her father and is sure the male name gives her more strength and freedom than some silly girl’s name.

Her Aunt Ida doesn’t agree, wishing that Wallie would take seriously the importance of being a proper young lady, and when we, the reader, meet Aunt Ida, we are sure that she will be a thorn in Wallie’s side throughout the story. How nice it was to see that Aunt Ida actually becomes an ally in Wallie’s quest to find out who killed her uncle and why. Those two women are a formidable pair as they encounter gangsters and gangs that are intent on murder.

The book is heavy with dialogue, which is something I enjoy, especially when the voices are all so distinct. One would not confuse Aunt Ida, with Athalia, the cook, or even Wallie. Likewise, Walter spoke differently than his brother, Rory.  All of them are well-drawn characters who make this romp through murder and mayhem a a fun read.

Wallie is a good role model for women of any age, in any era, who want to push the boundaries of what is expected of them and step out into something new and challenging. As I read her story, I couldn’t help but think of some strong women of today who are making such a difference in government and business. Kudos to all.

This is a fun, rollicking mystery, and fans of the Austin Starr mysteries will enjoy meeting Austin’s grandmother, as did I.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kay Kendall writes the Austin Starr mystery series. The first two books capture the spirit and turbulence of the 1960s. Desolation Row (2013) and Rainy Day Women   (2015) show Austin as a young Texas bride who is forced to the front lines of societal change by her draft-resisting husband. Austin copes by turning amateur sleuth. The latter mystery won two Silver Falchion Awards in 2016 at Killer Nashville.

Kay’s work in progress, Tangled Up In Blue brings Austin and her grandmother, Wallie, together in 1970 to solve a family member’s murder in Vienna.

In her previous career, Kay was an award-winning international PR executive, working in the US, Canada, Russia, and Europe. She has graduate degrees in Russian history and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Kay and her Canadian husband live in Houston, Texas. They’ve rescued abandoned pet bunnies for twenty years and currently have three rabbits and a bemused spaniel, Wills. You can find out more about her on her WEBSITE and find her on The Stiletto Gang BLOG, Visit her on FACEBOOK * TWITTER * and LINKED IN

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Come back on Wednesday when Kay will be my guest with a post about how women’s lives and roles have changed over time. Like me, she celebrates strong women in her writing and this is an interesting article.

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  1. Pingback: Twentieth Century Women – Maryann Writes

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