Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mississippi Vivian – Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson

© 2010 Five Star, New York

With this one, Bill Crider claims to be everywhere. So he might as well be here, too. And he is. And I’m glad. In the second outing for Ted Stephens, Crider and Wilson have another winner. Sadly, Wilson passed away after the writing but before the publishing of this novel (October, 2008). Even so, you will be glad to pick up a copy of Mississippi Vivian for your own shelves.

The setting is August, 1970, and Ted Stephens, Houston private detective, finds himself on assignment in the backwoods town of Losgrove, Mississippi. It’s in Losgrove that Ted meets the title character—one of three Vivians in town who are distinguished by their points of origin: Texas Vivian, Idaho Vivian, and Mississippi Vivian. She becomes a part-time informant for Ted as he investigates some claims fraud cases for National Insurance. What he discovers is that in Losgrove, Mississippi, his suspects are dying all over town, and the rest of the town—including the sheriff—aren’t interested in talking to him.

Filled with Crider’s trademark down-home characters, and his wry humor, Mississippi Vivian is another example of nostalgia married to an investigative procedural. One of the things to like best about Stephens is that he doesn’t really care when people put him off, he just wants to do his job. If you’re skeptical just read a page or two, and you’ll find him saying so himself. You sometimes even forget that the setting is from thirty or forty years ago, until Stephens mentions the Falcon that he rented for the job.

Thanks again for a great afternoon’s diversion, Bill and Clyde. And here’s your five reading glasses for the trouble.

Benjamin Potter, June 1, 2010

1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

Thanks for the kind words, Benjie!

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