“’Yes. Hank fought a long, battle.”
“He’s in a better place now.”
I forced a blank look to stay on my face and stopped the words that were about to erupt from my mouth. I couldn’t bring myself to accept the idea that the better place Hank was in wasn’t with me. Most people took comfort in the idea that my husband was waiting for me in the afterlife, but my broken faith wouldn’t allow that kind of hope to take seed. My heart had suffered a severe break that had left lingering damage.’” (See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery, Page 79).
It is January, 1965, in North Dakota as See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery begins. Marjorie’s husband, Hank, passed away last October and Marjorie is deep into grief. She still is unable to sleep in the bed she shared with him nor do anything with his clothes. Having been his caregiver for so long she desperately misses the rituals of the chores she had to do to meet his needs. His dog, Shep, a border collie, is now her dog though she realizes he will always really be Hank’s dog. At least it is January and there is not much outdoors on her farm as this is the time of year when humans and animals hunker down and just try to survive the winter. An in home visit with several of the ladies of the “Ladies Aid” reveals she is not alone in a personal family nightmare.
Tina Rinkerman, a fourteen year old teenager with Down syndrome has wandered away from the family farm. Not only was she not dressed for the January weather, her disabilities make her even more vulnerable. Family and neighbors are out searching for her, but that search has been fruitless and was suspended due to nightfall.
The next day, Marjorie assists in the search and is paired with Sheriff Guy Reinhardt. Their hunt for the young teen takes them to a nearby area where members of the family found foot prints in the snow by a fence line very late the night before. After some walking across barren and snow covered fields, Sheriff Reinhardt and Marjoire spot something in a shelterbelt. The stand of cottonwood trees was planted as a wind break by some pioneer decades earlier. Now that shelterbreak holds a car with the body of Niles Jacobsen. He has been murdered as the bullet holes through the windshield clearly indicate. It seems obvious that he was lured out there and executed by someone firing from a deer stand inside the shelterbreak.
In addition to the hunt for the missing teenager, Sheriff Reinhardt and the very small police force of Dickerson, North Dakota now have a murder on their hands. They are going to need Marjorie’s help as they all know she reads a lot and is the smartest person around. Her latest freelance index project needs to wait as Marjorie is going to have to help out. Driven by her natural curiosity and her grief, Marjorie pushes to find out whether the two events are linked and how.
Like all good series, this one that should be read in order starting with See Also Proof, followed by See Also Deception. Readers of this series have known from the start of the inevitability of Hank’s death which ultimately occurred in the second book. His death and Marjorie’s grief is one of the two major storylines in this book. That situation made this read a difficult one for me.
Not because the book is not good. It very much is. Marjorie’s grief and her responses to it hit very close to home. For some reason, I have always felt a deep kinship with the very fictional mid 30s Marjorie Trumaine. I have no idea why as not only am I a mid 50s male and a city boy, I have never lived in North Dakota, and would have been a little over three years old at the time of this book. We have nearly nothing at all in common. Yet, her grief over the loss of her beloved husband so mirrors my own over the loss of my beloved Sandi, the book brought me to tears several times. Not just because, like the fictional Hank, it was Sandi that had faith and optimism and always believed she would survive. Marjorie is also trying to find her way to go on, despite everything, and is having a very difficult struggle with doing so. More than once she expresses how much she misses the routine chores of caregiving as she met Hank’s needs. Those who know me are also very much aware how much I am struggling with my loss as well as how much I miss the routine chores of caregiving with the loss of my wife. Marjorie is trying to go on by focusing on her work as an indexer and I am trying to do as the same by doing reviews and other writing related projects. As it was for Marjorie, my work began as an attempt to bring some sort of income into the household. Her grief, at times, overwhelms her as does mine. There is still more to this shared bond that I can’t even begin to describe. She is as broken in her own way as am I though by the end of the book one gets the sense she is going to be okay.
See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery by Larry D. Sweazy continues a very good series. The secondary storyline of the missing girl and the murder are complex and full of surprises. A solidly good book in an excellent series, See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine mystery is well worth your time.
For another take on the book, make sure you go read this review by Lesa Holstine from late last April.
See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery
Larry D. Sweazy
Seventh Street Books (Imprint of Prometheus Books)
Paperback (eBook format available)
My review copy came by way of the Dallas Public Library.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2018