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{April 6, 2012}   {Review} Motherless Children by Randall Luce

From Goodreads: Williams Point is a Mississippi Delta cotton town. The land is black and fertile, the horizon cotton-white, and the humid air muffles dissonant insect harmonies. It’s the summer of 1946.

Sam Swain, the Chief of Police, believes that a community defines its people, and when the good and bad of Williams Point are known and balanced the result is something you can value. But when he investigates the murder of two prominent whites—Adelia “Auntie” Southworth and her niece Madeleine Lott, both poisoned by arsenic—Swain learns the truth can sound its own dissonances.

Auntie and Madeleine are murdered in their home, among family and friends, who withhold information from Swain to impede his investigation. As he slowly exposes the truth behind these murders, Swain discovers other crimes and transgressions—long past and present—and his own complicity in what he finds.

This is a wonderful mystery novel, depicting life in the South in the late 1940s.  With its wonderful prose and enticing storyline, this novel is a must read for all.  Luce does a spectacular job creating his in-depth characters, leading the reader down multiple paths as Sam Swain searches for the murderer of two prominent women.  Amazingly enough, nothing is as it seems in Williams Point, and as Swain uncovers the countless truths behind the townsfolk, multiple interesting twists come to light, making many a suspect in the recent murder. 

I spent the majority of this novel thinking I knew exactly who the murderer was.  When that didn’t pan out, I pinpointed the next suspect and was certain he/she was to blame.  After that fell through, I was positive that I knew the killer for certain this time around, and yet Luce stumped me repeatedly as this novel unfolded.  In the end, I never saw the true identity of the murderer coming, but it made such perfect sense that I can’t believe I overlooked it.  Luce is, indeed, and amazing mystery writer, with his solid prose and detailed descriptions, Motherless Children is a wonderful novel that I highly recommend.  You won’t be disappointed.  Four stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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