Review: A Lack of Temperance by Anna Loan-Wilsey

Description (from cover):

“From Anna Loan-Wilsey comes the first installment of a new historical mystery series featuring Hattie Davish, a traveling secretary who arrives in a small Ozark town only to discover her new employer has disappeared…

On the eve of the heated presidential election of 1892, Miss Hattie Davish arrives in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a scenic resort town where those without the scent of whiskey on their breath have the plight of temperance on their tongues. Summoned for her services as a private secretary, Hattie is looking forward to exploring the hills, indulging her penchant for botany–and getting to know the town’s handsome doctor. But it’s hard to get her job done with her employer nowhere to be found…

An army of unassuming women wielding hatchets have descended on the quiet Ozark village, destroying every saloon in their path–and leaving more than a few enemies in their wake. So when their beloved leader, Mother Trevelyan, is murdered, it’s easy to point fingers. Now that she’s working for a dead woman, Hattie turns to her trusty typewriter to get to the truth. And as she follows a trail of cryptic death threats, she’ll come face to face with a killer far more dangerous than the Demon Rum…”

 My Thoughts: 

          Hattie Davish is a character to be loved. I really enjoyed reading about the temperance movement in the 1890’s and how the women used destroying saloons and sermons to deliver their thoughts about the effects of alcohol. Eureka Springs has welcomed the American Women’s Temperance Coalition for its annual conference and all sorts of things are happening. The night of Hattie’s arrival she finds herself drawn into a saloon destroying where the president of the AWTC, Mrs. Edwina Trevelyan, is leading some of her fellow coalition members to destroy a local saloon. The saloon owner is livid at the destroying of his livelihood and makes threats against the coalition’s leader, Mrs. Trevelyan. Mrs. Trevelyan and some of her cohorts are thrown in the local jail for trying to burn down the saloon and no one thinks anything about it as these tactics are common for the leader and her cronies.

         Hattie has been hired by Mrs. Trevelyan to be her personal secretary and is eager to get started the next day, however no one can tell her where her employer is or what she is supposed to do. After witnessing the events of the previous nights and recalling the threats made by the saloon owner and seeing some death threats in the leader’s mail, she sets out on her own investigation to determine the whereabouts of the missing leader. A couple of days pass and when Mrs. Trevelyan turns up murdered, Hattie steps up her investigation despite the protests from the local police and the coalition members. She is determined to find out what happened to her employer and finds herself pulled in the coalition’s politics and finds numerous suspects that wanted Mrs. Trevelyan dead.

        I can see that this mystery series will take off as the main character, Hattie, is loveable and has a hint of mystery about her past that this book did not explain. I predict that the author will use this further along in the series and sets the ending up nicely to continue along with the adventures of Hattie Davish. I will most definitely be continuing with this series even though it does need a little bit of development. I think that with the continuation of the series the series has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see what is in store for Hattie. Highly recommended for historical mystery lovers who enjoy a light and enjoyable mystery.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Title: A Lack of Temperance
Author: Anna Loan-Wilsey
Series: Hattie Davish Mystery #1
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Historical Mystery

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind.  All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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