Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in  as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “See Also Murder” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
On what inspired me to read the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries:
I had discovered See Also Deception was a Spring 2016 release on behalf of Seventh Street Books – mindful of the fact I have a preference for reading books in series straight from the beginning and/or in case of successive sequels, if I could soak inside the first novel, I could at least ascertain the direction of the series by first becoming acquainted with the lead character’s introduction. This is why I asked Seventh Street Books about receiving See Also Murder as a way to entreat inside See Also Deception. I wanted to understand the make-up of the series from a first-time reader’s perspective as well as become anchoured to the series straight from the gate of it’s origins.
I have a keen eye on for Mysteries – especially those which are told with a sophisticated edging rounding out their characters and where the conception of their settings are an equal match to the wit of the dialogue and/or the arc of the lead character’s life. I love finding mysteries so wickedly told by their creators, as to level out a joy in the discovery of a ‘new’ series to ache to read next.
I had a bit of luck finding a few serials prior to being a book blogger (*see my Short List below this review*, wherein those which are not linked through my blog were the pre-blog discoveries), but these past three years have yielded more joy in finding writers who are creating the Mysteries I love to champion to other readers! The ones where you feel so connected to the heart of their narratives, it’s hard to put them down – you forsake sleep and try to noodle out the hidden truths behind the crimes in step with the sleuths themselves – all the while caught up inside the joy of your first reading of a new Mystery series which stole your readerly heart.
This is why when I first discovered Seventh Street Books, I was so excited! And, I am finding I truly love the stories they are publishing and curating a list of new lovelies I am going to be continuously reading as each new release drops into sight! What wonderful joy for me!
Notation on Cover Art Design: I love the simplicity of the cover – it eludes directly to Marjorie Trumaine’s personality, as she is focused on her duties as an indexer but she likes to find ways to use her keen skills of observation and deduction on the side. The clever bit is how the small droplets of blood carry over to the back jacket where just a small mattering of drops are around the ISBN code! I liked how the index card was used to ‘title’ the novel, as that is such a Marjorie thing to do! Also, the lined paper background to the back jacket felt quite fitting and the typewriter typography was brilliant!
1964—Life on the North Dakota farm hasn’t always been easy for Marjorie Trumaine. She has begun working as a professional indexer to help with the bills—which have only gotten worse since the accident that left her husband, Hank, blind and paralyzed. When her nearest neighbors are murdered in their beds, though, Marjorie suddenly has to deal with new and terrifying problems.
Sheriff Hilo Jenkins brings her a strange amulet, found clutched in the hand of her murdered neighbor, and asks her to quietly find out what it is. Marjorie uses all the skills she has developed as an indexer to research the amulet and look into the murders, but as she closes in on the killer, and people around her continue to die, she realizes that the murderer is also closing in on her.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: See Also Deception
Also in this series: See Also Deception
Published by Seventh Street Books
on 5th May, 2015
Format: Trade Paperback
Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series:
Story Locale: A small town in North Dakota in 1964
Series Overview: Marjorie Trumaine, a freelance book indexer, uses her research skills and attention to detail to help the police solve crimes in rural North Dakota during the early 1960s.
See Also Murder | No.1
See Also Deception | No.2 | Book Synopsis on Riffle | Pub Date: 10 May, 2016
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Converse via: #MarjorieTrumaineMysteries
Marjorie Trumaine: a natural bourne sleuth:
Trumaine is a woman who speaks her living truth quite easily – revealling bits of facts at first glance and warms you to her humble life by viewing her in her element – her life at the farmhouse where the hours are a succession of nursing her husband, indexing books and trying not to watch time march off the clock whilst others are caught up inside their own lives; a step removed from her own. A woman who has a keen sense for checking facts and sorting books into an index that logically makes sense, she comes across as someone with a strong sense of self-assurance for tackling the impossible. Part of this was gleamed out of circumstances but I think a greater stroke of truth might be it was an innate gift.
What endeared me the most about Marjorie is how Sweazy gave her such an honest representation of a woman who loves being self-taught and self-educated! It’s rare in today’s modern world bent on University to have a character step outside tradition and be wholly confident in her mind as Marjorie Trumaine is within this series! I loved how Sweazy broached the topic about how due to all her curiosities and readings she’s accumulated such a large repository of knowledge – a tome of loveliness to recollect, but one that is oft-times hard to share with others who do not understand how you can know a bit of something about a whole of lot of everything! My, how I could personally relate to this woman! She is seriously a well-conceived character and one I am blessed to have discovered!
She’s not one to give into hardship nor is she one to focus too hard on what isn’t able to be changed; she’s resolute in her heart to carry forward to a tomorrow on her own terms. One of the best blessings she had was the friendship of the local Sheriff who Sweazy has placed in Marjorie’s life in such a natural way to give a leeway for how he encourages Marjorie to start sleuthing. It wasn’t someone who regularly meddles in on crime and the affairs of a police station; no, this was a kind request by a dear friend who simply wanted a sharp mind to take a look at things with a fresh perspective. Such an organic vein of entrance to a series!
My Review of See Also Murder:
Having travelled to the Upper Mid-West, specifically driven across the Continental Divide and seeing for myself how heavenly beautiful the Dakotas are as your driving up the interstate leaving the rest of America behind you – I could almost taste the setting Sweazy has created for his series. You don’t oft forget an experience of cross-country travelling – especially if it’s done the old-fashioned way by car rather than by plane. Your senses remember things in such a way, as bringing forward even one small bit of being ‘there’ can transcend a story ‘set there’. Part of the beauty is the isolation – as far as your eye can traverse the horizon, you’ll drink in oceans of grain. It’s awe-inspiring whilst catching your fancy for a different place altogether removed from whence you’d travelled previously. The Dakotas have a special personality and the people who call the Dakotas home have their own dialect as well. One of my favourite takeaways of my time spent there was simply listening to how they turnt their words and expressed themselves as it had it’s own uniqueness I simply did not want to forget. Mind you, breathing in the crisp fresh air was high on my list of ‘personal favourites’ as well!
Marjorie Trumaine is a woman whose independent sensibility has done her a few favours, as it’s allowed her to buckle down through the worst adversity for anyone to go through in a marriage to a sweetheart they could barely recognise anymore. Her logical mind helped ease the burden of her hardships by allowing the comfort of list-keeping to off-set the proportional stress factors that try to push her spirit too far past it’s tipping point. Her thoughtful interludes on events outside of her own control is what granted the most pleasure in reading her story – you want to curl up inside this series and not let the story go until you’ve read the very last page! Marjorie is such an agreeable character because of her steadfast honesty and her uncanny way of bringing humble and spiritual perspectives to ordinary hours which give us the most adversity to shift past.
Marjorie’s best friend is the librarian who she helped challenge to think outside the monotonous routine of being a small towne librarian, where both women could flex their minds to pursue knowledge to help with Marjorie’s book indexing projects. In some ways, this reliable vehicle of income for Marjorie has passed forward kindnesses to others along the way; including giving her friendship in a time when having someone to talk too was a joy beyond words. Most of her lifelong friends abandoned her after the wake of her husband’s tragic hunting accident – rather than succumb to the shattering reality as her Hank had done himself, Marjorie found ways to redefine herself and her life’s purpose. Calla’s only negative influence on Marjorie is her chain smoking, but Sweazy has a classic style of giving Marjorie clever ways to articulate her mind on such matters – when she started to cross-compare how a cigarette smelt and what those aromas reminded her directly of is truly classic! He keeps the honesty flowing through each chapter, stitching Marjorie’s tapestry to be well-rounded and keenly insightful whilst giving me more smiles than tears! This is truly an uplifting story despite the brevity of events which forever changed the lead character’s life.
I especially liked how Marjorie chose to handle Raymond, her academic cousin who thinks he’s better in intellectual pursuits moreso than Marjorie as he doesn’t take kindly to ‘self-educated’ women. I smirked seeing their exchanges, because it’s such a well-worn argument between both sides of the ledger! She truly took the high road, seeking the information she needed to take her to the next level of her investigation into Nordic Mythology, whilst not giving her Cousin Raymond any leeway towards knowing he was irking her ire!
I was much more affected by the second death – the Sheriff’s wife Ardith than the first ones, mostly because they had died without my knowledge of who they were – until lateron. In Ardith’s case, it felt so helpless knowing she had been taken during the time when Marjorie was sleuthing in towne and how all those feelings of anxiety about getting home and feeling as if she were being followed might have held salt to reality. Ardith was such a sweet character, warm at heart and a giving personality who rallied with you and met your challenges head-on. I even loved her name – it was one of the background bits I liked about this story – you can fully see the decade Sweazy placed his series, as all the little touches and nuances he gave as references truly were remarkably on point, lending a spark of realism that I appreciated.
In the midst of the soul splitting drama encroaching on Marjorie’s mind, heart and spirit – she has to deal with a publishing deadline that nearly breaks her very last nerve. Sweazy broaches the topic of those unnamed heroines and heroes of the book world who have tasks and jobs not as well known (to everyone) yet have to juggle their personal lives, arduous upsets and blinding difficult emotional lows whilst bringing in their projects by a fixed deadline. Being a book blogger whose a writer IRL, I appreciated the cadence of honesty in this threading of insight but also, how well true Marjorie’s trials were to real-life situations – even decades after she lived.
I had such a hearty hankering to try Marjorie’s lefse it’s hard to contain my joy in finding out about this lovely bread recipe! I have a bit of Scandinavian roots of my own, whilst having a healthy appetite for breads in general – especially Naans from India. I am sure at some point I will wrangle up a proper recipe for this (wished one had been in the back of the book!) and try my hand at it! It’s such an involved art, I know it will be amongst the choices I’ll take under my wing to attempt as I select other breads to bake, too! I loved how we get to peer inside all the lovelies of farm fresh cookery and baking adventures hugged close to the emotional anguish of resolving such heart-wrenching realities affecting Marjorie’s life. It was a bit of a solace to the pain and a flickering of hope to hold her against the sorrows overwhelming her heart in such succession as to wrung out her sense of how to pick up the pieces. Marjorie continuously tries to set her mind to rights by re-analysing everything pulling weight on her soul – it’s part of the human condition to re-ponder things you think you’ve put to bed. In this way, Marjorie Trumaine feels even more real than most fictional characters as it’s a very human thing to do: dissect something that is reaching a fever pitch of anxiety on your conscience.
I quite nearly solved this crime myself – except to say I was outfoxed by an indexer! Not Marjorie in this instance but Mr Sweazy! He took me by such a complete surprise I felt gobsmacked in all honest truth at who was the perpetrator in this instance – proving that a criminal mind is not the person your expecting it to be whilst giving you ample depth of a developing character and story to hold onto long enough to become endeared to it. I felt like I was in North Dakota the well full of the hours I resided inside See Also Murder – a blessing and a joy! Sweazy used the climatic shifting weather patterns to further envelope you inside the emotional state of mind of Marjorie – his usage of climatic analogies was quite brilliant! I also appreciated seeing an index alighting inside the chapters – a moving stream of conscienceness on behalf of Marjorie piecing together the clues; bit by bit.
The best joy for me reading this mystery is how cosy it is written and how dearly beautiful it is to find a mystery free of descriptive bits regarding the crimes! Not to say, Sweazy did not give a few small details out about what occurs, but it was done in such a conversational manner, you could blink before you realise your gaining crime scene information! It’s a gentle style with such a strong focus on the heart of his lead character whilst endearing you to the towne and the way of life inside the community, you cannot help but become encased inside the story; never quite wanting it to end!
On the detective story styling of Mr Sweazy:
Sweazy has a lovely tone of delivery inside his stories – especially in regards to See Also Murder, as he takes his time introducing his characters whilst giving you the strength of their lives up front. His gentle manner of allowing his characters to warm to you is what granted me the most joy in curling inside the novel – I could tell I was on the fringe of rallying behind Marjorie Trumaine straight out of the gate! His poetic glimpses of farm life in the Dakotas, of singling out moments of paused reflection were a delight to entreat inside because they earnestly told living truths about the lifestyle the Trumaine’s lived. I appreciated the way the novel started to become such an enjoyable feast of words, expressions and observational nuggets of the author’s impressions on behalf of his world.
Mr Sweazy injected such heartache inside his character’s heart, but he etched out the hard lines with feather kisses of hope and an underscored will to survive in the face of so much uncertainty. In the character Marjorie Trumaine he created the strength of a woman who was an equal to the natural environ of her home – the Dakotas have such fierce weather patterns, they alone can strengthen your resolve (or break it if your unable to deal with the influx of change on such a high frequency); but it’s how he’s given her something to focus on with an orderly task within the publishing industry that fused her will to her lifeline of hope that I felt was most fitting of all. It spoke to her true nature and to the spirit of the young girl she once was who found solace in stories.
I never heard of a book indexer before I read this series either – surprisingly it was never mentioned to me by any of the librarians I’ve befriended since I was shorter than the stack of books I was checking out of the public library! I loved digging through stories to root out new words and the ‘key’ moments of reference which could be cross-referenced or indexed inside the map of the text in my mind. I think this is one reason I’ve cross-referenced and indexed my blog! Little virtual notations on what I’m reading and blogging about to be left behind as future footsteps to retrace! I did a bit of a mad search online to sort out how to freelance as an indexer because I loved what it entails – the best source happens to be ‘the source’ for this industry: The American Society for Indexing! Grant you, there is a proper way to index books and I’m sure the way I’ve set-up my own indexes are not quite industry-standard – but what I appreciated most is that this is any woman / man’s trade of work! I’m not sure if I’ll pursue this, but similar to beta reading, I like the components of the trade itself! So, maybe? I’ve found a new niche to explore!? Hmm…
I sorted out the inspiration behind the titles of this book series, too! I was so itching to get straight inside the story itself, I stopped myself from pondering why “See Also” was being used in each of the titles! Until of course, I realised the reason behind it with such a sudden clarity of focus, I could do nothing but smile a thousand joys! Indexers love to use “See Also” as a quick-step reference point to help you extract out further information upon a subject of interest or a way to carry forward with your search to find what your seeking most out of a text! (a cross-referencing tool) The curious little ‘arrow’ guiding you as your read deeper and create your own map of discovery as you do!
As an aside,… normally I cannot listen to music with lyrics as I’m reading, as I am a Classical music or Ambient Electronica reader, however, I had found a Classic or Soft Country style radio station (Soft Country here refers to music you’d see on a Soft Rock station but with Country singers) which kept me rooted in the story whilst giving me this extra layer to the story-line. The music and the novel were equally enjoyed and created this special reading experience to introduce me to a series whose second release is upcoming in eight short days! Look for my review of See Also Deception celebrating it’s #PubDay on the 10th of May! The soulfulness of the singers’ voices and the soulful narrative merged quite eloquently together.
Most definitely an ‘unputdownable’ read of mine for 2016! My 3rd favourite Mystery author hailing from *Seventh Street Books*, too as Ms Spann has joined their Mystery family of authors! I have a penchant for serial fiction, especially for Crime Dramas & Detective Fiction because I like to return back in future installments to watch the continual growth of the lead character – not only develop their sleuthing skills but watch how their interactions with their friends & community continue to expand the joy of reading their stories! I love well conceived worlds within this genre and for me, I am blessed now to call Mr Sweazy one of my personal favourite authors I will love following!
My shortlist of Serial Mystery Authors now includes:
Nancy Atherton | Aunt Dimity Mysteries
Cleo Coyle | Coffeehouse Mysteries
Tasha Alexander | Lady Emily Mysteries
Laurie R. King | Mary Russell Mysteries
Susan Spann | Hiro Hattori Novels (previously the Shinobi Mysteries)
Anna Lee Huber | Lady Darby Mysteries
Charles Todd | Bess Crawford Mysteries
Susanna Calkins | Lucy Campion Mysteries
Catherine Lloyd | Kurland St. Mary Mysteries
Jacqueline Winspear | Maisie Dobbs series
Tessa Arlen | Lady Montfort Mysteries
Larry D. Sweazy | Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries
And, Dame Agatha Christie who enlightened me originally & endeared me to the genre!
Honourable Mention: Jennifer Kincheloe*
*her story ‘The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” I truly hopes knits into a series!
This book review is courtesy of:
Remember: Drop back for my #PubDay Review of the sequel!
10th of May | See Also Deception!
Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.
I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read
— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) May 1, 2016
— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) May 1, 2016
— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) May 1, 2016
— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) May 1, 2016
Writ in such dramatically poetic fashion to inspire you as you dig inside it's heart
— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) May 2, 2016