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Don't Drink the Water

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Four moon gifAvon (Paperback), ISBN 0380805332
Tired of reading the latest cozy mystery? Yearning for something a little darker but not yet ready for Dennis Lehane or Michael Connelly? Then meet Susan Rogers Cooper and her character, E.J. Pugh. Described as "cozies with an edge," Cooper's E.J. Pugh mysteries continue the tradition established by the first novel in the series (One, Two, What Did Book: Susan Rogers Cooper, Don't Drink the WaterDaddy Do?) where the brutal murder of her neighbors involves E. J. in her first investigation.  

In Don't Drink the Water, no-nonsense, Central Texas romance writer and sometime housewife E. J. Pugh persuades herself and her husband that a long weekend in the U. S. Virgin Islands spent with her three sisters won't fulfill her dire predictions. First, all those disturbing family memories won't affect four grown-up women -- even if the sisters rarely talk to one another. Secondly, it doesn't matter that no one really likes sister Cheryl's husband, Arlan, even Book: Susan Rogers Cooper, One, Two, What Did Daddy Do?though his nouveau riche gaucheness rubs everyone the wrong way. And last, so what if the best word to describe the sisters' relationship is "dysfunctional"?  

And let's not mention the dead body found in the cistern of the beautiful beachfront rental. Not even if the body turns out to be a third sister's husband's secretary. Not even if that same sister's husband is the primary suspect. And especially let's not mention that strange accidents keep on happening, and the body count keeps rising. It's a nice family vacation, right? 

When Susan Rogers Cooper takes to the computer to create Book: Susan Rogers Cooper, Not In My Backyarda new mystery, legions of fans cheer. This prolific, yet under-appreciated Texas author warrants much more attention for her flawless writing. With her plausible characters and truly homegrown setting, Cooper rises above the orthodox "amateur-sleuth-stumbles-across-another-dead-body" standard to pen a darker side of amateur sleuthing.  

Underlying her usual first-rate story, Cooper evokes the darker side of life, giving each of her novels a gritty sharpness that adds spice and flavor. Don't Drink the Water firmly reinforces the fact that this author deserves every kudo given in the mystery world. My only complaint: I want more! 

Maria Y. Lima

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