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The Old Buzzard Had It Coming by Donis Casey

The Old Buzzard Had It Coming (2005)

by Donis Casey

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My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | May 18, 2018 |
Set in the 1910s in Oklahoma, this is as much a chronicle of the work of settled homesteaders as a mystery story. Alafair Tucker, a pioneer mother with nine living children, an adoring husband, and a reasonably prosperous farm, just can't sit back when a puzzle presents itself, especially if it involves one of her offspring. I was as entranced by the portrayal of farm life as I was by the mystery - maybe more so, since I suspected part of the answer early on.

This is the first in a series of 9 books, and I'll surely look for the next one.

Note that having grown up in the suburbs and lived in a city, I have no idea how closely this book portrays farm life in 1910, but it feels real, right down to the endless cooking the women do. I don't think the language is too contrived, either, but I'm not from Oklahoma. ( )
  ffortsa | Jan 23, 2018 |
I tried this book simply because I loved the title. This is the first book in the Alafair Tucker mystery series. And what a protagonist Alafair is. She's a 35 year old mother of nine children! The setting is 1912 Boynton, Oklahoma. Alafair and her husband Shaw are farmers in the thriving town of Boynton when we meet her. She rules her large household with a firm, but fair hand. Everyone in the Tucker family pitches in to help in the never-ending job of raising such a large family. When a drunken obnoxious neighbour is found frozen to death in the snow, Alaifair finds herself drawn into to trying to figure out what happened to the old buzzard. His name was Harley Day and he was a vicious, mean man who no one will mourn, least of all is long-suffering family. Alaifair discovers that her 17 year old daughter Phoebe is sweet on young John Lee Day. The setting and the plot delineations are spot-on with the time frame and with the place of rural Oklahoma. I found the mystery fun, different and I absolutely lovely feisty Alafair. We even get early 20th century recipes at the end. This book was a whole load of fun. ( )
  Romonko | Jun 29, 2015 |
Not quite a 4 star listen as it dragged on a bit, but close enough. I had some issues with timing a couple of times, but that was fairly minor compared to the setting. The time is 1912, the heroine a mother of most of a dozen, Alafair, & the mystery is figuring out who killed a man that everyone thought better off dead, anyway. With so many willing & able, the mystery winds around opportunity & who had the means.

The characters were well done, but what really grabbed me was the setting & how well it was handled. A common complaint of mine is that authors don't understand farm life, but Casey is an exception. In this time before the automobile was common, she handles transportation quite well. She also gives a pretty good feel for the amount of labor that was involved in keeping a home. It reminded me very much of Aunt Affie's, an old family friend who was of my grandparents' age who had a farm in the boonies. My mother used to drive a team of horses while helping Uncle Kendall. (There's a picture of her driving them while standing on their rumps around somewhere.)

Best of all, the end of the book has a bunch of recipes, all of which were quite authentic sounding to me. Since I listened to them, I can't swear to it, but the cobbler & cornbread recipes sure sounded just like those I make based on recipes from Mom & my grandmothers. I only keep bacon grease in my drippings jar & keep it refrigerated as Mom taught me. (The dogs get the rest on their kibble.)

Since everything seemed so real, I wondered how much of this was based on reality. Apparently it's a common question & Casey has answered it to some extent on her website here:

When I started this book, I thought I'd really want to read the next & soon. Unfortunately, it dragged on a bit too long, so I'm no longer in a rush, but think I will get back to the series at some point. I'd certainly recommend reading at least this one. There's no sex, cussing, & only a little bit of violence, so it should be suitable for anyone. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
This is a nice, light mystery. The story is set in rural Oklahoma in 1912 (come to think of it, all of Oklahoma was probably rural in 1912). The mystery is not very complicated, although there are a few twists near the end.

The thing that seemed far fetched to me was how this mother of 7 or 8 kids was able to run a farm, manage the kids and investigate a murder. There are also a lot of references to "God's will", but I think that is just representative of the time period. ( )
  grandpahobo | Jul 31, 2013 |
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It was just after dinner on the January day in 1912, and very cold with a threat of snow, when Harley Day began the journey to his eternal reward.
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Book description
Life on the Oklahoma frontier in 1912 was anything but easy, yet Casey's sweet-tempered debut manages to make readers nostalgic for simpler times. Running a successful farm is hard work, and on the Tucker farm everyone in the family has a job to do, under the proud watchful eyes of father Shaw and mother Alafair. So when the town bully is found dead in the snow and one of the Tucker girls might be involved in the murder, Alafair pours all her considerable energy into uncovering the truth. Of course, she'll eventually find it, for this mother of nine living children (two died young) "know[s] everything all the time." And that's the essential flaw in this otherwise admirable work—no surprises. The regular up-and-down cycles of the plot don't allow the tension to build beyond a certain point. New developments often occur offstage and the same details are rehashed too many times around too many kitchen tables. In every other respect, though, the appealingly homey world Casey creates rings true. With so much going for her, readers will be right pleased to see a sequel.
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A violent confrontation between Harley Day, an abusive drunk much despised by his family and neighbors, and his nineteen-year-old son, John, and John's girlfriend, Phoebe Tucker, leads to John and Phoebe becoming the prime suspects in Harley's murder.… (more)

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