Ariadne French, who goes by the nickname “Ari” never expected the call that she got while helping to paint her sister's house. Aaron Beecroft, Ari's boyfriend who took her money and her heart and left for Montana to set up their future only to not be heard from in months, is now dead according to the caller. Not only is he dead, he isn't anywhere near Montana either.
Instead, a neighbor found him dead in his small cabin in the area of Marfa, Texas. Now the caller, Gil Rosseau, wants Ari to come out from Dallas to help handle things. Mr. Rousseau claims to be Aaron's neighbor and pastor and says that Aaron named Gil as executor of a will and Ari is the sole beneficiary. It has been months since Aaron refused to wait for her while Ari dealt with a family crisis and now she is supposed to drop everything and go out to Marta to help with funeral arrangements and other matters.
Her sister Zoe does not want Ari leaving town for any reason and certainly not to go from Dallas to somewhere out in the desert just because some guy called and claims various things. But, Aaron Beecroft had been the one true love of Ari’s life and she has to have answers. Against her sister's emphatic advice, Ari accepts Gil's offer to make her travel arrangements and goes to Marfa to deal with matters and to find out what happened to Aaron. As Labor Day weekend approaches presenting another complication for her plans to wrap things up as quickly as possible Ari finds out that by all appearances Aaron was doing well. But, appearances can be deceiving and as she struggles with rectifying the Aaron she thought she knew with the far different Aaron that lived in Marfa, she also must deal with others and their own agendas. Eccentric neighbors, vendettas, and at least two different men vie for her romantic interests. The fact that she becomes a murder suspect within days, if not hours, of her arrival in Marfa seems to dissuade no one from involving her in their own lives for various purposes. Not to mention those magical and unexplainable Marfa Lights that play a major role in the book.
Murder by the Marfa Lights is a slow moving cozy style mystery that gradually reveals the truth behind everything as Ari is seduced by the land and its people. Readers are given plenty of information on fish, spiders, as well as local situations such as the famous chili cook off and the legendary Marfa Lights among a few other things. Ari has a sarcastic streak that comes through on a fairly frequent basis providing bits of the humor scattered throughout the 259 page read.
The mystery of what happened to Aaron often takes a back seat to various events and the romantic interest shown to Ari by others. Much of the book is spent detailing the local area and its residents during which there is little forward movement on the mystery itself. Readers who expect a quickly moving mystery may be disappointed, but those who wish to learn more about this special place in the “Big Bend” area of Texas will strongly appreciate the detail here.
Murder by the Marfa Lights
E-Book (also available in print)
Word file was supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013
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