I’m reposting this review in honor of Kaye George, author of the Agatha-nominated mystery, CHOKE.
Kaye is currently in Washington, D. C. , where the Agatha Awards will be announced tomorrow at the annual Malice Domestic “fun fan” convention. Malice Domestic salutes “the traditional mystery—books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie,” and “loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence.”
Austin Mystery Writers send congratulations and best wishes to all Agatha nominees.
To Kaye and her heroine, Immy Duckworthy, we add an orange pickup load of harmonious vibrations and a plea to get back to Texas as soon as possible.
Answer: Imogene Duckworthy, amateur PI and main character of Kaye George’s new mystery, CHOKE.
Immy is a delight–the 22-year-old unwed mother of 3-year-old Nancy Drew Duckworthy (Drew), she lives with her retired-librarian mother, Hortense, in Saltlick, Texas; slings hash at her Uncle Huey’s cafe; and wants with all her heart to be a detective like her “dead sainted father.”
When Immy up and quits her job (Huey wants her to work double shifts again), and then explains her sudden unemployment by telling Hortense that Huey pinched her bottom (well, he DID pinch the other waitress’s bottom), Hortense heads to the cafe to give Huey what-for. Then Huey is murdered, the police take Hortense to the station, and Immy has her very first case. Guided by the Moron’s Compleat PI Guidebook, she sets out to find the perp.
The Moron’s Compleat PI Guidebook says nothing about staging a jailbreak, holing up in a Cowtail motel, or color-coding her list of suspects. But it does mention disguises, just what Immy needs to investigate on her home turf. An outfit that combines “Buns of Foam” with “Boobs and Belly,” however, leaves the amateur PI in need of the Jaws of Life, and the reader in stitches.
Kaye George’s CHOKE is a different kind of mystery. In most detective novels, the reader watches the sleuth-protagonist work his way through chapter after chapter, picking up clues and discarding red herrings, until he finally comes up with the answer. In CHOKE, however, the reader picks up clues while watching the gullible, ultra-literal, but enthusiastic Immy charge through to the solution while remaining blissfully clueless.
With CHOKE, first-timer Kaye George has accomplished something special: an original mystery, an original Immy, and a novel that leaves readers laughing and wanting more.
FTC Disclaimer: No one gave me this book. I bought it with my own money. Kaye George is one of my critique partners, but our relationship did not influence my review. I did not tell her how to write CHOKE, and she did not tell me what to write in my review. In fact, I never even critiqued the manuscript, and my introduction to the novel came when my copy arrived in the mail. I wish I had critiqued it, because I would like to take credit for “Boobs and Belly,” and the part about the letter opener, and the chicken. But the whole thing was Kaye’s idea. Even the orange pickup on the cover.
- Agatha Christie: The curious case of the cosy queen (independent.co.uk)
- How can Agatha Christie be used to teach foreigners English? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Ms. Christie and I get on smashingly – “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie (readingthroughthebs.wordpress.com)
- The mysterious affair of how Agatha Christie is teaching foreigners English (independent.co.uk)