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February 11 , 2011

The Wrong Hill to Die On

An Alafair Tucker Mystery


Murder and illness, rumors of war, rain and floods worthy of the Bible. Nineteen-sixteen was not shaping up to be a good year for Alafair Tucker, and finding Bernie Arruda dead in a ditch wasn’t going to help matters. She had not wanted to come to Arizona in the first place. But her daughter Blanche, only ten years old, was suffering from a stubborn ailment of the lungs, and her best chance for a cure was dry desert air. So Alafair and her husband Shaw had bundled their sick child onto the train and made the nightmare trip from Oklahoma to Alafair’s sister in Tempe, Arizona. Yet as soon as they arrived on that bright March day, Blanche began to improve. Alafair was overjoyed to see her witty, brilliant, beautiful sister Elizabeth again, and for added excitement, a Hollywood motion picture company was shooting their movie right on the streets of Tempe! But Alafair and Shaw soon discover that all is not well in sunny Arizona. Elizabeth’s marriage is in tatters, tensions are high between the Anglo and Latino communities following Pancho Villa’s murderous raid on Columbus, New Mexico, and Alafair suspects her sister is involved in an illegal operation to smuggle war refugees out of Mexico and into the U.S. And now here lies Bernie Arruda on his back in a ditch, staring into eternity. The night before he had been singing Mexican love songs at the party in Elizabeth’s back yard, his black eyes flashing as he winked at the ladies. He had been a charmer, all right. Too bad there were so many people who would be glad he was dead.
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