Imogene in New Orleans
(cover art by Philip Pascuzzo)
Rolltop Publishing 2014
Imogene Deal McGregor has lived nearly three-quarters of a century in Alabama. She has a penchant for following her own instincts, as well as more grit and spunk than her hypochondriac son, Billy McGregor, and Billy’s impulsive partner, Jackson, can handle. The boys take Imogene to New Orleans with their devilishly handsome English bulldog Goose, hoping to visit friends and attend a second line parade, but moments after arriving in the French Quarter, they find their friend Glenway Gilbert murdered in his art gallery.
Immediately, Imogene and the boys run into a temperamental and ethically-challenged lieutenant who appears hell-bent on neglecting the crime, compelling them to seek answers themselves. As they delve into Glenway Gilbert’s murder, Imogene and the boys realize the deceased artist was surrounded by suspicious friends and lovers. With Goose the bulldog by their side, Jackson and Billy seek answers among old friends and new enemies, while Imogene follow her own ideas on the case. But the sooner they solve the murder, the sooner they can get back to catching beads and eating pralines.
The first thing you’ll notice about this book is not its story, but the amazing cover art. It draws you in as good cover art should and makes you want to find out more about the story. The title, however, as the next to notice does not appeal to me. Once you flip the book over however, you can read the synopsis, which is so odd that it’s got to be good!
The story is very fluently written from different third person points of view, though mostly from Jackson’s. Even though the writing style was not quite to my taste, the ease and seamlessness with which Murphy switches between characters made it a great read. Another plus that comes with his writing are the amazing southern (Alabama/New Orleans) accents in the book. It makes you feel like you’re walking the streets right beside the characters.
There are a couple of very important characters in this book, most of which are gay. The amazing part is, that being gay is not their main purpose. It just happens to be that way. It’s refreshing to read something where homosexual people aren’t used in writing merely for their homosexuality. They also don’t portray any of the stereotypes; they all have their own unique qualities and oddities. Then, there’s one of the other main characters Imogene, she’s like your grandma: loving, considerate, and a little rude sometimes because old people think they can get away with it. She’s still got a sharp head on her shoulders, which helps her along quite a bit, trying to solve the murder.
All in all, a very interesting band of characters who should not be solving a murder, yet manage to do so without getting themselves killed in the process. From beginning to end the book is filled with excitement, action and a New Orleans atmosphere. It’s definitely worth a read!
PS. In these kind of murder-mysteries/whodunnits, I always try to figure out the murderer before it’s revealed in the book. I’m ashamed to say that I could not figure it out, though looking back at the clues, I definitely should have!