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Death Deals a Hand: A California Zephyr Mystery
     

Death Deals a Hand: A California Zephyr Mystery

by Janet Dawson
 

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It's April 1953, and Zephyrette Jill McLeod is back on the rails, aboard the fabled train called the California Zephyr. Heading west from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area, Jill looks forward to reuniting with family members and the new man in her life. She’s learned to expect and deal with just about anything on the train, from troublesome passengers to

Overview

It's April 1953, and Zephyrette Jill McLeod is back on the rails, aboard the fabled train called the California Zephyr. Heading west from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area, Jill looks forward to reuniting with family members and the new man in her life. She’s learned to expect and deal with just about anything on the train, from troublesome passengers to long-lost relatives to high-stakes poker games. But the stakes just got even higher: Death has a seat at the table.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/01/2016
Set in 1953, Dawson’s slow-moving follow-up to 2013’s Death Rides the Zephyr finds Jill McLeod, who works as the classic train’s Zephyrette, traveling west from Chicago through the Rockies toward the San Francisco Bay Area. As the only female crew member, McLeod has many duties, such as administering first aid, greeting passengers, and keeping them up-to-date on the train’s progress as well as the history of the areas the train passes through. The plot, which highlights day-to-day life aboard the train, doesn’t pick up steam until the last third of the book, at which point the focus is on the shooting murder of the unpleasant Mr. Fontana, a former Chicago bootlegger. McLeod must learn who had motive to kill Fontana and to frame her black sheep cousin, Doug Cleary, by planting the murder weapon in his berth. Rail enthusiasts will welcome this light mystery full of information about train travel of an earlier era. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Dawson expertly mixes railroad history, a fine traditional murder, and a 1950s heroine in Zephyrette Jill Dawson." — Sarah Smith, Agatha winner, Chasing Shakespeares

“All aboard for a thrilling ride on the historic California Zephyr! In Dawson’s capable hands you aren’t reading history, you're living it. With the added pleasure of a murder mystery a la Dame Agatha, this is a wonderful read.” —

Terry Shames, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge

Kirkus Reviews
2016-02-03
A storied train rushes toward a date with death. Jill McLeod is a Zephyrette, the only female member of the crew on the famous California Zephyr, which runs from Chicago to California in the early 1950s. Her duties involve smoothing the way for passengers, administering light first aid, and dispensing information about the stunning scenery only train riders or serious hikers ever get to see. As the train makes its way west this time, Jill slowly gets to know the current crop of passengers, some making short journeys, others traveling all the way to Oakland. Some are pleasant, like Miss Brandon, an Englishwoman who adores Agatha Christie, and others obnoxious, like Mr. Fontana, a businessman who uses his large compartment for high-stakes poker games. The observant Jill is sure that some of them are hiding secrets that are none of her business unless they affect the operation of the train. Jill is pleasantly surprised that her uncle Sean Cleary, a retired Denver police officer, is on the train but a bit worried because his son, Doug, who's estranged from his father, is also along for the ride. She's taken aback by the casual racism travelers display toward the largely black train staff but bites her tongue because the passenger is king. Her cousin Doug antagonizes Mr. Fontana both by winning a large sum from him at the poker table and by showing his attraction to a lovely Southern belle who's fighting off unwanted attention from the businessman. Undaunted, Jill soldiers on, making life pleasant for the passengers, until a murderer strikes. Then she uses her skills as an observer (Death Rides the Zephyr, 2013) to help solve the crime.Dawson creates a charming and intelligent heroine, but the mystery is almost an afterthought to the atmospheric descriptions of this chapter in the 21-year reign of the Zephyr, whose famous Vista-Dome cars delighted passengers with unparalleled views.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564745699
Publisher:
Daniel, John & Company, Publishers
Publication date:
04/07/2016
Pages:
232
Sales rank:
341,850
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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Meet the Author

This is Janet Dawson’s second mystery in the California Zephyr series. In her other series, PI Jeri Howard has sleuthed through ten books, the first of which won the St. Martin’s/PWA award and other mystery award nominations. Dawson was nominated in 2012 for Left Coast Crime’s Golden Nugget Award for Bit Player. She lives in California’s East Bay Region and welcomes visitors at her website and blog.

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