Saturday, February 15, 2014

Review: Drowning Barbie by Frederick Ramsay

I've been a fan of Frederick Ramsay's Ike Schwartz series since its beginning, although I confess I haven't read them all or in order. Ike and his "main squeeze" Ruth Harris, are both old enough to know what they're doing.  He's a sorta-retired CIA agent now serving as a small town sheriff in rural Virginia, and she's the President of a small private woman's college in the same town.  This combo provides many opportunities for the townies and the academics to tittle and gossip. Drowning Barbie begins as the couple ends a rather raucous mini-vacation in Las Vegas, waking to realize that in their drunken stupor, they've actually visited the local wedding palace and done the deed. Now, how to tell the folks back home, many of whom have been scandalized by their not too secret relationship.
The Publisher tempts us with:
 Ethyl Smut, everyone agreed, deserved to die. Drugs, child abuse, a life wasted, but murder is murder and killers must be brought to justice.So, when a second body is unearthed in her shallow grave, and the town's worst nightmare in the person of George LeBrun also find their way onto Ike's desk so to speak, things get messy fast. Then there is Ethyl's missing daughter, Darla, who could testify against some important people if she were found. And as if Ike hadn't enough on his plate, Karl Hedrick and Sam arrive to investigate the source of the second body and it's like old home week in Picketsville. Finally, there is the ""Never-ending Story"" of Ike and Ruth's engagement that friend and foe alike insist be settled one way or another.
So's a crime novel, and there appears the obligatory roster of murder victims (both known and unidentified), a runaway teenager, some drug dealers, bad cops, incompetent law enforcement, meddling busybodies, etc, etc, etc. Nothing horribly complicated, but definitely engaging enough to keep the pages turning.  Not only do Ruth and Ike provide us with wonderful dialogue, but the supporting cast keeps the reader entertained as well.  At the end of this one, Ramsay leaves us looking forward to a new and very different lifestyle for this eclectic and fun couple.There's certainly at least one more book for these two.

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for making the review copy available through Net Galley.

Title: Drowning Barbie
Author: Frederick Ramsay
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (2014), Paperback, 250 pages
Genre: mystery: Police procedural
Subject: child abuse, murder, drugs
Setting: Picketsville Virginia
Series: Ike Schwartz mysteries #8
Source: Net Galley review copy from Poisoned Pen Press
Whydid I read this book now?  I love the series.


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