Murder Passes the Buck is a Gertie Johnson mystery by Deb Baker. This story couldn’t be more different than Dolled Up for Murder which I loved. We have a woman sleuth who is getting on in years, but has loads of energy. The story has its share of funny as well gory moments.
Gertie is a recent widow in her 60s. She lives in the UP, or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is a harsh land made up of hardy residents, many of them Nordic. Gertie owns three forties, or three forty acre lots that are in a row. She lives on one, her son the sheriff lives on one, and her daughter Star lives on one. Her grandson Little Donnie is visiting and he has driver duty.
Gertie Johnson has a staunch friend in Cora Mae who has buried more than one husband and is looking for the next one.
It is hunting season and there are many hunters in town, eager to shoot deer. Gertie’s neighbor is shot dead and everyone assumes it is from a stray bullet. Except Gertie that is. She stars snooping around risking the ire of her Sheriff son. Gertie sets out to prove that the man was murdered and her words take on a shade of gravity when her own life is endangered.
Blaze – and he hates that name – takes Gertie to court and tries to declare she is incompetent. Gertie starts driving around without a license and bumps into everything possible. Kitty, the local gossip and serial eater, takes on the role of Gertie’s bodyguard and sticks to her like glue.
As the story progresses, more and more characters are introduced and the plot takes shape. It seems that a lot of things were secret, even in a small town where everyone knows everything. The way Gertie connects the dots is just pure genius. But the killer is still out there and still after Gertie’s life.
Murder Passes the Buck is nonstop action with some humor thrown in. The senior ladies get around to some shocking behavior. Gertie probably feels young because her octogenarian mother in law is on hand to keep her straight.