A Lack Of Temperance
Kensington, Sep 25 2012, $15.00
In the Victorian Age, Hattie Davish is a traveling secretary going to whatever town in any state her mentor sends her to work. She currently arrives in Eureka Springs as secretary to Temperance League’s President Mrs. Trevelyan. Hattie’s first impression of her new employer is not a positive one as she sees her employer take an axe to the Cavern Saloon and sets fire to the place because the objective is to damage the establishment so it goes out of business.
A riot breaks out while Mrs. Trevelyan vanishes. Hattie thoroughly searches the hotel for her boss, but fails to find the elderly woman. She next turns to Mrs. Trevelyan’s trunk held in storage seeking a clue. Instead Hattie finds Mrs. Trevelyan’s corpse. The police arrest the Cavern Saloon owner, but Hattie has her doubts that he killed the woman. Deciding to learn the truth, Hattie seeks those with a motive to kill the iron temperance president only to find many people wanting her dead including league members.
The first Hattie Davish historical mystery captures the essence of the Temperance Movement through the fervor zealousness of members like the victim and those who want these busybodies to stay out of their freedom to imbibe or not. Hattie is terrific as an amateur sleuth who holds the storyline focused while enabling the audience to see deeply into a major late nineteenth century social issue with ramifications today (forerunner of the failed Prohibition and drug wars).