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Feminist lesbian writer Tyler Jones heeds her dying mother's last words: rattle the family skeletons back in Minnesota. On a visit to the family's Lake Superior home, she begins to open closet doors. What she finds astounds her: an unknown grandmother, a missing great-aunt, a long-ago rape, illegitimacy, and incarceration. Behind one of these doors, however, is a secret that someone will kill to protect. Drury (The Other Side of Silence, Spinsters Ink, 1993) offers seductive prose, a caring protagonist, wonderful scenery, and small-town idiosyncracies. A solid addition to most collections.
The second in the Tyler Jones mystery series stands up to its claim to being a "feminist mystery." A middle-aged writer of amazon stature, Tyler Jones is a down-to-earth, sensual woman who is not afraid to be who she is‘a recovering alcoholic, single lesbian. Despite a rather unoriginal opening in which Tyler is told by her dying mother to go home to Minnesota and "shake the skeletons in the closet", this is an upbeat, unusual mystery. Tyler makes the trip from California to her grandparents' former homestead on the north shore of Lake Superior. Amidst renovations, walks in the woods with her golden retriever Aggie, childhood memories, and getting reacquainted with old neighbors and family, Tyler begins to unravel layers of mysteries and lies about her family. Through conversations with town elders, she discovers both the identity and the tortured biography of her real grandmother. Probing deeper into local lore, Tyler finds that the tight-lipped men of the area are hiding much more than simple rum running secrets. With the help of a diverse array of strong female characters‘Ellie and Hank, the lesbian spinster siblings next door; Tyler's cousin Sonny, a foster mom of six; and Louisa's best friend Vera Johannsen, now in her 90s‘a history rooted in misogyny and homophobia begins to emerge from the rocky shores of the lake. The dialogue could be a little sharper (too many sentences like this: "Oh Tyler. This is so dreadful, isn't it"), and the suspense might have been built up more, but otherwise this will make a fine addition to the lesbian mystery category. (Sept.)
Atmospheric, meditative in tone, deeply wise in its exploration of thecorrosive power of secrets and the tentacles of the past, this eloquent novel ranks with the best of our mystery fiction.-Katherine V. Forrest"