An Owen Allison Mystery
By John Billheimer
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312269814, 320pp.)
Publication Date: July 2001
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In The Contrary Blues, John Billheimer's acclaimed debut set in West Virginia mining country, transportation expert, amateur sleuth, and erstwhile native son Owen Allison got caught up in a transportation embezzlement scheme chock full of West Virginia good ol' boys just a little bit short on ethics. Owen's next adventure, Highway Robbery, found Owen winging his way home again, this time to investigate a recently discovered thirty-five-year-old skeleton with a bullet hole in its skull.
Now, in Dismal Mountain, Owen Allison returns yet again to the familiar hometown hills of West Virginia. Within minutes of his arrival he's embroiled in a battle with cheating hospital administrators and a shady land development company. When construction dumping threatens the family hollow near Barkley, Owen's Aunt Lizzie grabs her rifle and sets out to stop it. Shots are fired, a trucker is killed, and Aunt Lizzie swears she pulled the trigger. But Owen thinks she's hiding something--perhaps out of a stubborn sense of family loyalty--and he intends to find the truth before she's forced to face the consequences.
Can Owen clear his aunt's name, in spite of her best efforts to stonewall him, as well as figure out a way to stop the harmful dumping before it's too late for all the Allisons? If anyone can successfully navigate the bureaucratic mess and deal with the colorful local scoundrels, it's Owen Allison. Both are par for the course in John Billheimer's quirky and inventive mystery series.