Pecos Valley Rainbow
by Alice Duncan
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432826901
Date: 20 March 2013
Pecos Valley Rainbow is Alice Duncan's third novel featuring Annabelle Blue, a young girl with a talent for finding dead bodies, and her fourth story about Annabelle. Set in the 1920s in Rosedale, New Mexico, the novel follows the spunky heroine as she struggles to solve the murder of the town banker.
Rosedale is a small, isolated town in southern New Mexico on the Pecos River. It serves ranchers and farmers in the surrounding area. Money is tight and Annabelle's parents run the local grocery and dry goods store. They earn a comfortable living, but refuse to pay to send her to college. Instead, she turns her talents to solving local murders.
Dry most of the year, periodic floods inundate the town and make boots and raised boardwalks essential. During one of these floods, Annabelle's boat bumps into the bankerís corpse. Her stuffy brother-in-law is an officer of the bank and, because of arguments with the banker, is now a suspect. Determined to prove his innocence she begins gathering information and asking questions.
She learns few people liked the banker. Several claim he cheated them. Even his own family disliked him, and he had a mistress on whom he lavished gifts. Annabelle believes he has hidden money somewhere, but the bank records do not support that. She insists he must have kept a second set of books.
Determined to find evidence to prove her suspicions, Annabelle enlists the help of her long-suffering beau, Phil Gunderson. She also asks him to help her search the banker's home office. He tries to dissuade her with no success and inevitably is blamed for the mischief she causes.
When Annabelle discovers another corpse, her late night efforts can't be concealed from her parents or the police. A scandal of sorts ensues, but she is not deterred.
Duncan has a long list of mystery and romance novels with several set in the 1920s. This YA mystery offers a spunky and likable heroine determined to find the murderer. The climax gives Annabelle plenty of opportunity to exercise her ingenuity and unmask the unlikely killer. Other Annabelle Blue mysteries are Pecos Valley Incident, Pecos Valley Diamond, and Pecos Valley Revival.