Thursday, May 07, 2009

Murder in Metropolis by Lonnie Cruse

Title: Murder in Metropolis
Author: Lonnie Cruse
ISBN: 0978588002, NaDaC Publishing, 2006
Genre: #1 in the Metropolis Mystery series
Rating: B

First Line: Sheriff Joe Dalton plunked his boots on top of his desk, leaned back in the protesting chair, snapped open his newspaper, and hooked a finger through his donut-shaped coffee cup.

Other than his wife keeping him on a diet and occasionally having to roust Big Ed Simmons off Miz Lipinski's steps, Sheriff Joe Dalton has a pretty good life in Metropolis, Illinois...until the body of his best friend is found draped all over the Superman statue in front of the courthouse. Finding Jack Hatfield's killer has just become Dalton's top priority.

I felt as though I were back home in small-town Illinois as I read this book. Like me, Dalton (and I suspect his creator as well) tends to feel more comfortable with people who know what it's like to put in a hard day's work:

Most likely that came from having done a man's work every day of his life since early boyhood. Dalton knew that the perpetrator of this crime would be much safer spending life in jail than spending five minutes alone with Windhorst in his barn.

There's an ease, a familiarity that comes with growing up among people in a small town. You know everyone. Everyone knows you. This ease shines through on each page of Cruse's book. Her sense of place, her skill in characterization, makes Murder in Metropolis a pleasure to read. If only I hadn't twigged to whodunit almost immediately! The fact that I did has very little to do with my powers of deduction and more to do with my suspicious mind after years of hearing excuses for employees not being able to come to work. One certain excuse was used a lot, and since it's a malady I'm very familiar with, I tend to treat it with more doubt than almost any other. If not for my suspicious mind, the ending of this book would've been a huge surprise.

Am I disappointed? Not really. I enjoyed the setting, the action, and getting to know the characters so much that I'll be looking for more books in this series!


  1. It sounds fun and I *love* the cover!

  2. Great cover and it does sound like a good read. I'm a big city girl at heart but I like reading about small town life. Plus my sister-in-law is from a small town in Illinois which is home to a cartoon hero so it would be fun to read from that perspective too (she's from Chester, home of the creator of Popeye)

  3. I like the people I've known with suspicious minds, unless it's taken to the extreme. Those people, like you, tend to think outside the norm and look at life in a different, creative way. Makes for fun reading of mysteries.

  4. Sounds fun. You get pretty suspicious when you teach too. It was unbelievable how many family deaths there are just before exam time. Do freshman in college really think professors are that dumb?

  5. Rhapsody--I have a friend who goes to the Superman Festival in Metropolis every year.

    Bernadette--I know all about Chester and Popeye!

    Margot--I don't carry my suspicion to extremes. If I did, Elvis Presley would be singing non-stop in my head and I have to start wearing a tinfoil hat! LOL

    Beth--I had one of my cashiers call out because her grandmother died. She gave lots of specifics, too. Three weeks later, the very same grandmother came down to Phoenix from Cottonwood, found herself at my Target store and asked me if her granddaughter was working that day. Woman looked extremely well for someone three weeks dead!

  6. I love the cover! I didn't grow up in a small town but I did live with an aunt and uncle in a small town in Indiana for a year, so I know what you mean. It's marvelous how everyone knows everyone else and so friendly-feeling.

  7. Belle--I lived in a village for 18 years, and there is a down side: everyone knows your business before you do, and people tend to plan your life out for you!


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