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by S. H. Baker
Zumaya Publications, April 2007
160 pages
ISBN: 1554103002

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Marshall's Bayou, Louisiana, in 1924 is a small island community where all the inhabitants know each other. Dassas Cormier is the new police chief. Fortunately things are usually pretty quiet except for the usual fights and arguments that break out, but Dassas easily fixes those problems.

Right before Thanksgiving, Dassas and his brother and sister-in-law are waiting at the ferry for their sister Coralee and her traveling partner to arrive. The Cormier brothers haven't seen Coralee for years as she left the Bayou when she married.

When the ferry arrives Coralee isn't on it, but the brothers get a note from her saying something terrible has happened and she is in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Dassas immediately goes to his sister and she informs him that her friend, the person she is traveling with named Colonel Jedidiah Gilmore, is a famous author who writes about his worldwide adventures.

It seems that Colonel Gilmore was attacked after he witnessed a bank robbery. As a writer, Gilmore tends to stretch the truth in his books and Dassas thinks that he might not be telling the true story about the robbery.

Dassas does a little investigating about the bank robbery and asks some questions of the police in Lake Charles, but knows there is nothing he can do about it. But that night, as he's trying to get to sleep, a man breaks into the hotel suite where the three are staying and Dassas is beaten up. Coralee and Gilmore are sure that Dassas was beaten because the burglars thought he was Gilmore.

The next day the three go back to Marshall's Bayou to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of the Cormier family. But some odd things start to happen on their return. Dassas eventually returns to Lake Charles with Coralee and Gilmore to investigate what really happened during the bank robbery and why the problem has followed his family back to Marshall's Bayou.

THE COLONEL'S TALE by S. H. Baker is an exceptional piece of writing. Even though this isn't a big book, the author takes the time to tell the story about Dassas and his family and the two mysteries: what really happened during the bank robbery and why Dassas's family is involved.

The characters are well written and are very believable. They are faced with personal problems and they do their best to solve them. Things are not easy in Marshall's Bayou in 1924 but the story shows how this close-knit clan goes out of their way to help each other. I enjoyed this book immensely.

This is the latest installment in the Dassas Cormier series and the first I've read. Since it was so well written I intend to find all the others and read them too. Filled with wonderful characters and a great location and era, THE COLONEL'S TALE is a tale not to be missed.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, April 2007

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