Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Murder at the Bus Depot By Judy Alter

Alter Ego Press 
Print Length: 220 pages
April 6, 2018
Genre: Mystery
Series: Blue Plate Café Mystery 4

Is the depot a symbol of the worst episode in a town’s history or does it stand for revitalization, bringing the citizens of Wheeler together with pride in their community?

Kate Chamber’s trouble antenna goes up when Dallas developer Silas Fletcher decides to help “grow” Wheeler. She and her brother-in-law, Mayor Tom Bryson, have less spectacular and drastic ideas for revitalizing the town. When Old Man Jackson dies in an automobile accident, the specter of the past comes back to haunt the town. Thirty years ago, Jackson’s daughter, Sallie, was murdered at thebus depot. The murder is still unsolved.

Kate and Silas clash over almost everything, from the future use of the abandoneddepot to a fall festival celebrating Wheeler. Another murder at the depot blows the town apart, and Kate know she must do something to solve the murders and save her town, let alone the festival she’s planning

Other books in the series:
Murder at the Blue Plate Café
Murder at the Tremont House
Murder at Peacock Mansion

This small town mystery reads well as a stand alone.
The crime and drama surrounding it will draw you in.

Besides knowing each others business, and offering opinions even when facts are not really known, the residents of Wheeler, TX, "an unremarkable small town sixty miles east of Dallas," although not actually in the renowned area of East Texas, both have each others' backs and are willing to in-fight like family. Matter of fact, quite a few are related in one way or another.

At the moment things are quiet around Wheeler, so quiet in fact that several businesses are considering moving elsewhere. At the local cafe, the town movers and shakers are discussing ways to draw more tourists, and more prosperity, into Wheeler. It seems their only "claim to fame" is a decades old unsolved murder.
A land developer wants to play on that murder story to create a tourist attraction. The longtime residents don't want the character of their town to change that drastically.
This developer, Silas Fletcher, was a difficult character to accept and understand. His personality was all over the place. Other than being motivated by money, I couldn't get a solid read on him. He was the only part of this story I didn't feel was settled at the end.

Much of the story deals with family relationships, good and bad. There are similarities reflected in different families, each handled differently. A smidge of the paranormal exists here, but it will not distract from the mystery for any who don't like unusual elements. 

The story flows smoothly, with one suspect providing all the inflammatory incidents required.
Kate does not intend to be in the center of all the fuss, but for some reason everyone brings their troubles, and loud voices, to her place of business. 
Dysfunctional relationships, bad romantic histories, and greed all play a role in this story.
It takes you all the way to the last pages before things are resolved.

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