Drowning Barbie-Frederick Ramsay

Drowning Barbie
Frederick Ramsay
Poisoned Pen, Feb 4 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781464202162

In Picketsville, Virginia, Andy Lieux walks his dog in the woods until his canine scratches at the ground revealing a gray-green hand. At the same time the dog found the corpse of meth addict Ethyl Smut; recuperating from the deadly Scone Island case Sheriff Ike Schwartz and his new wife Ruth are enjoying Vegas having married at the Budding Rose Wedding chapel in a drunken haze.

The newlyweds return home to learn that Smut was interred on top of another body, murdered a decade ago. The prime suspect in the present day homicide is Ethyl’s teenage daughter Darla, who has a strong motive to kill her mom for pimping her for years to support her addiction. Ike concludes Darla probably did not commit the matricide, but the teen also remains a victim as those who paid for her services fear the seventeen year old will expose them.

The latest Ike Schwartz Virginia police procedural is an entertaining whodunit as the locals feels Smut deserved death but tremble at what Darla knows and might reveal without the control of her mother. Although there is too much happenchance moving the investigation along; series fans will enjoy the inquiry, the nuptials and the reactions to both in this overall lighthearted whodunit with a serious look at the impact of abuse and addiction on the young not invincible.

Harriet Klausner

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