As promised last week, today I’m reviewing a much less serious book by author Jana DeLeon. Louisiana Longshot (A Miss Fortune Mystery, Book 1) is as light as Malevolent was dark. Louisiana Longshot is the first of thirteen books in this series, which appears to be quite popular. This book alone has over five thousand reviews. Color me envious!
In Louisiana Longshot, Fortune Redding has come to Sinful, Louisiana, expecting to lay low and escape being assassinated until the mole at the CIA who leaked her identity is discovered. Apparently, she decides to stay in Sinful as she is still there in book thirteen. I must say I am curious as to how and why, which is not revealed in book one.
A CIA assassin herself, Fortune is out of her element in Sinful, a very small bayou town populated by more senior citizens than you can shake a stick at! The seniors readily take her in, but of course, they don’t know she’s CIA. At least, not at first. They think she’s Sandy-Sue, the beauty queen-librarian granddaughter of their dearly departed friend, Marge, come home to settle Marge’s affairs.
Fortune’s cover is supposed to keep her safe and out of trouble. That idea flies out the window when Marge’s old dog discovers a bone—a human bone—in Marge’s backyard. Fortune is soon drawn into the circle of the “Geritol Mafia,” headed by Marge’s old friends Ida Belle and Gertie, to find and protect Marie, another old friend and the prime suspect. This leads to Fortune having to protect herself from the local deputy’s inquiring mind. The process takes Fortune all over Sinful and into the bayou more than once. The twists and turns of the mystery itself are just as convoluted. The situations the ladies find themselves in are usually over the top. Fortune (Sandy-Sue), Ida Belle, and Gertie put me a bit in mind of the three stooges. Just a bit.
DeLeon amazed me with her humor and wit in the storyline itself but more so in the turns of phrase that pepper almost every page. Her depiction of character types and behaviors is hilarious and right on—if a little exaggerated. Oh, yes, and she does tell a good mystery with hints along the way to the multiple surprises at the end.
Unfortunately, none of the surprises provides a clue to Fortune’s own predicament of avoiding her would-be assassin. I wonder if this is what keeps her in Sinful for twelve more books.
I can understand the appeal of Louisiana Longshot. It is a laugh-out-loud read with a crew of snarky, eccentric characters. On the surface, this is a fun mystery full of whimsical exaggeration. However, at least in my mind, the humor and exaggeration border on an underlying satire. I don’t know if other readers would agree, but this idea appealed to me. I also don’t know if the author intended Louisiana Longshot to be satirical, but the book does appear in Amazon’s Humor and Satire/Humorous category.
What about you? Do you enjoy your murder mysteries with or without humor? If with, who is your favorite humorous mystery writer?
* This book does contain profanity, irreverence, and a few other elements that some readers will find offensive.