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Eccentric but shrewd railroad detective Claude Steele is soon on the scene to figure out who could have been angry and mean enough to do such a thing. Meanwhile, Temple has to solve the murder of Ruthie-Jo Mitchem, “who made it her business to know everything possible about everyone else.” Ruthie-Jo’s death may be related to the train wreck—or to her snooping into her neighbors’ business. He also frets about his wife, Etha, who was severely injured when the train crashed, and about his responsibilities to the vulnerable people who depend on him. Loewenstein gives a rich sense of the period and place, and dramatically shows how hard times can bring out the best in some and the worst in others.

From Publishers Weekly: Set in 1935, “smack in the crosshairs of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl,” Loewenstein’s excellent sequel to 2018’s Death of a Rainmaker continues the saga of life in the small town of Vermillion, Okla. Sheriff Temple Jennings is used to dealing with balky stray cows and occasional moonshiners. Then his comfortable routine is shattered by a passenger train derailment that turns out to have been caused by sabotage.

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Other Books By Laurie

When a rainmaker is bludgeoned to death in the pitch-blackness of a colossal dust storm, small-town sheriff Temple Jennings shoulders yet another burden in the hard times of the 1930s Dust Bowl. The killing only magnifies Temple’s ongoing troubles: a formidable opponent in the upcoming election, the repugnant burden of enforcing farm foreclosures and wife’s lingering over the loss of their eight-year-old son.

Marian Elliot Adams, an outspoken advocate for sensible undergarments for women, sweeps onto the Chautauqua stage under a brown canvas tent on a sweltering August night in 1917, and shocks the gathered town of Emporia with her speech: How can women compete with men in the work place and in life if they are confined by their undergarments?

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