DEATH OF A MYTH MAKER: A TEXANA JONES MYSTERY by Allana Martin
Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Minotaur, March 2000
Texana Jones doesn't think much of it when she sees one of the 'seven sisters' dancing in the moonlight with a stranger, Julian Row man. She certainly doesn't connect it with the murder of a photographer in front of her trading post. But when her veterinarian-husband is poisoned with peyote and when Row is also killed, Texana knows it's all connected. Still, do the police have the right man--and why are they so suspicious of her? Julian Row is the Myth Maker--a convincing and charming liar. He is a con man who has married multiple women, bilked them of whatever they had, then divorced them for their community property. Lots of people had good reason to kill him. Still, only one of them did.
DEATH OF A MYTH MAKER is an interesting mystery, but it is far more interesting in its description of the west Texas border with Mexico. Anglos and Mexicans co-exist and interact far more than in the interiors of either country. Drug traffic is a huge issue and a major employer. The desert country and the Marfa Lights (mysterious lights that remain unexplained in the real world as well as in this novel) become characters in this novel. Allana Martin knows this country, and lets the reader immerse themselves in it. A light touch of humor (the scorch marks on the side of Texana's trading post appear to take the form of the Virgin Mary and become a local shrine) adds to the novel's appeal.
Purchase DEATH OF A MYTH MAKER from Amazon.com (available in hardback).