Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie return for more adventures in Swamp Sniper by Jana DeLeon, and this time it is Ida Belle who is in trouble. Figuring that since she has run Sinful, Louisiana behind the scenes for decades, Ida Belle has decided to get paid for it by running for mayor. As campaign favors, she and her fellow members of the Sinful Ladies Society pass out bottles of Sinful Ladies Cough Syrup, a.k.a. the best moonshine in town. At 3 in the morning after the campaign rally, Fortune wakens to banging on her door, only to learn from Gertie that Ida Belle’s opponent has died of poison. Poison that was in the cough syrup. So Ida Belle becomes the chief suspect.
The trio faces two challenges this time. They must clear Ida Belle’s name while keeping Fortune’s cover as Sandy Sue Morrow secure before the CIA pulls her out of Sinful, away from the only friends she has ever made. This takes them into all sorts of wild adventures. As Gertie likes to say, “You never know when someone will start shooting.”
One of the funniest scenes is when the three break into the church, disguised in Mardi Gras masks, where the body lies ready for the funeral the next day in order to take a photograph of the man. Another pair of sneak thieves breaks into the church to do the same thing, only to be scared off by the gasses released from the decomposing body that make it fart and then lift its arm in the air.
This book is great at posing a clever mystery while keeping me laughing the whole time. It takes a real gift for an author to be able to do that. I also appreciate the character development, especially the internal growth that Fortune begins to experience as she realizes that she has never had true friends until she meets Ida Belle and Gertie, along with Allie, a woman her own age who works as a waitress at the diner who teaches Fortune the fun things about being a girl. Fortune begins to do some introspection about the state of her life and her long-standing issues regarding her parents. In addition, we learn a little about Deputy Carter and his background in the Marines, while seeing how he is drawn to Fortune’s strength as a woman.
Cassandra Campbell does an enjoyable job of reading this entertaining book. A reviewer on Audible complained about her poor Louisiana accent, so I would assume that someone familiar with the area might find this annoying. Otherwise, I thought her narration was good.
Swamp Sniper is a great addition to the Miss Fortune series. The crazy hijinks that Fortune finds herself getting into with Ida Belle and Gertie and their efforts to hoodwink Carter always manage to go wrong, such as when Fortune gets her foot stuck in the sheriff’s station’s toilet, but Ida Belle always has a backup plan, no matter how ridiculous it seems. This book is such a great read. You can read the books out of order, but I recommend going in order so as not to miss any details. I’m confident that once you read one book in the series, you won’t be able to stay away from the rest. I give this book five stars!
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