Jun 25, 2009

A mystery that holds my attention.

A Ruby Murphy Mystery
by Maggie Estep

Maggie Estep’s critically praised heroine, Ruby Murphy, is back! Back in Coney Island with a bunch of endearing misfits, back at the racetrack ogling thoroughbreds, and back learning that, on the seamy side of the sport of kings, survival can be a long shot.

Ruby’s life is nothing if not complicated: she’s spending a lot of her time worrying about a jockey named Attila Johnson; a good-hearted Teamster with a bad back; a neighbor who is suspicious of anything that moves; one very fat cat who craves raw meat; a missing FBI agent; an underused piano; a few fine horses—and the sure knowledge that somehow, somewhere, there is a killer among them.

It's been a while since I read this one, but what the hell.

The thing I like about these books is the single fact that they do show the seamy side of horse racing perfectly. You don't see the glitz and glamour in these books at all, which is a little refreshing and therefore odd in itself because probably 95% of horse racing is anti-glitz. So it's not the mystery or power hungry elite that drive these stories so much as the weirdness of all the everyman characters whether or not they're sitting alone in their apartments or interacting with others. They're quirky. In a cute and/or insane way.

From what I remember of the mystery, it involves a crazed animal lover. That's really all I'll say, because when "crazed animal lover" comes up, it's probably best that you just read it and find out for yourself.

Oh, and interestingly Jane Smiley's Justa Bob from Horse Heaven shows up.

Now I'm wondering if I should attempt Horse Heaven again.

Yeah, probably not.

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