RP Dahlke’s characters are larger than life, and A Dead Red Alibi is no different. This is the first Lalla Bains book I have read. But after reading and immensely enjoying Hurricane Hole, I was anticipating another enjoyable ride. Arizona provided one of my favorite settings and so I was all set to meet Lalla Bains, ex model turned crop duster turned amateur PI.
The story begins with Lalla being jilted at the altar. Or so she thinks. Ready to go off in a huff, her aunt Mae gifts her some property in the Southern Arizona desert. Lalla and her father Noah set off in a brand new red Jeep Wrangler to rough it up like pioneers. The property once had a working gold mine, and Noah is looking forward to reviving it.
Seems like just a few minutes into town, Lalla’s father is lost in the desert. He is sharing an abandoned mine pit with the dead police chief, and there is another murder close by. Cousin Pearlie flies in and the girls embark on the case as newly minted PIs. Lalla’s fiancée Caleb comes looking for her, and the four of them cozy up in the little adobo house. There are many suspects, the grumpy artist Jason Stark, the delicate Reina who is hiding something, Deputy Dumb Ass who behaves suspiciously and Mac Coker, the dead girl’s dead who is grief stricken and ready to avenge his daughter.
I love Lalla Bains’s character. She doesn’t mind roughing it and also has a lot of common sense. The chemistry between her and hot sheriff fiancé Caleb is off the charts. Cousin Pearlie is a bundle of energy ready to get into trouble, and father Noah , an active senior reminds me much of Meg Langslow’s dad. Lalla wrecks cars like Stephanie Plum but bumbles a bit less. As always I wonder if I make these associations because I read so much, or because they are really crafted that way.
You can’t go wrong with A Dead Red Alibi. It has been one of the most enjoyable mysteries I have read in a while. I have a new one for my women sleuths list in Lalla Bains and R P Dahlke is now definitely one of my top favorite authors. Go read it! Now!