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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Review: Sportsman's Bet (Ian Dodge Mysteries) by Judy Nichols

I like the Cockney rhyming slang in this solidly plotted mystery.
Sportsman’s Bet (Ian Dodge Mysteries)
by Judy Nichols
  • File Size: 426 KB
  • Print Length: 229 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008OY00QS
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Velma Saunders, the town clerk of Tobias, North Carolina never had a kind word to say to anyone. In fact, most people were afraid of her, including her boss, Mayor Mike Ellis.

Still, the whole town is shocked when Velma's body is found in the Municipal Building's old bomb shelter. The only clue to her murderer is a copy of a cryptic message from a Nigerian Email scammer.

All the evidence points to Mayor Mike, who's charged with killing Velma. Investigator Ian Dodge, a British transplant who's never quite taken root in the Deep South, sets out to find out who else hated Velma enough to kill her.

In the course of his investigation, Ian discovers the dark secrets Velma has been hiding all these years, and exactly why she was so mean.

One afternoon Mayor Mike is visited by a State Auditor claiming they are investigating a $2,000.00 accounting discrepancy. Mike wheedles the help of PI Ian Dodge, a British transplant with wonderfully quirky habits like Cockney rhyming slang. They start their search at the computer of the Mayor’s hardnose, but oh-so-efficient, office manager, Velma. The next morning Velma doesn’t show up for work which is very rare.  doesn’t show up one morning.

The title, and other interesting phrases, come from Ian’s sharing of Cockney rhyming slang. I really enjoyed those word games. Sportsman’s Bet rhymes with internet and the clues branch from what appears to be an internet scam where the sender is in Nigeria and asks for financial assistance from Velma.

Velma is found dead in a little known basement room. A spurious police search learns that Mayor Mike was familiar with the room and suspicion quickly turns into Mike’s arrest. Now Ian is fully engaged to uncover the truth to clear Mike. The investigation leads Ian to delve into the history of Velma’s youth. Ian interviews Aunts and nieces with a few surprises. Clues reveal a troubled family, a secret pregnancy and a connection to the government Eugenics program during the 1960s. Step by step the author leads Ian to the pieces of the puzzle until he has to race to prevent the killing of another witness.

I liked how the story jumps into rich characters and the hometown mystery. The investigation might not have been overly exciting although there is action and excitement as the mystery culminates. The family history was interesting and the mystery was really well plotted. The writing is descriptive with some nice humor that makes this an easy and fairly quick read. I enjoyed Ian’s personality and could see myself enjoying more investigations with him and his rhyming slang. 

I received this eBook from the Author for an honest review.
This story is set in North Carolina for my 2013 Where Are You Reading Challenge.

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