Elaine Orr contributes another strong novel with Tip a Hat to Murder , set in the small agricultural college town of Logland, Illinois. Ben Addison, owner of the Bully Pulpit Diner, close to the campus of Sweathog Agricultural College, has decided to abolish tipping at his diner. This leads to picketing and more protesters shouting outside the diner than eating inside. Then, one night at 2 a.m., the police officer doing his patrol comes upon the body of Ben, who has bled to death.
The local police force, led by the young and capable Chief Elizabeth Friedman, sets to work on the case, and they quickly determine that the victim had been running a bookie business out of his diner, but does that have anything to do with the murder? They get stuck having to deal with the local fraternity, which steals their traffic cone. When the college police officer, who is also a chemistry professor, goes to retrieve the government property, the drunk frat boys sic their pet goats on him, pet goats that are clearly drunk themselves. The police clearly have to deal with plenty of juvenility as they do their own searching for a murderer and face the local protesters.
This book was a whole lot of fun to listen to. I really enjoyed every detail of the book. All the main characters come across in well-defined manners. The plot may seem basic, but it is handled in a strong, capable way that I found creative and well-done. But the best detail is the local surroundings that are painted so vividly that Logland seems like a place I not only can picture but have now been to visit.
Kevin Iggens does a fantastic job of performing the audio version of this book. He has a great voice that is appropriate for keeping something silly from getting off-track and lending gravitas to the ridiculous. Only a few parts of this book turn silly enough to warrant such a need, but besides his skill in coping with the silly details, Iggens also demonstrates a gift as a storyteller in general. With the book’s setting in an agricultural town in the Midwest, I feel like I’m sitting back on the porch of a farm, maybe even in Lake Woebegone, ready to be transported to a third location for another adventure.
I have become a fan of Elaine L. Orr’s Jolie Gentil’s series, set in the coastal tourist town of Ocean Alley, NJ, but Tip A Hat to Murder is the first book by Orr not outside of that series to be made into an audiobook, and I am very pleased with the result. I thoroughly loved this book and can’t wait for the audio release of more in this series.
Disclaimer: I received my copy of this audiobook for free from the narrator, but that in no way has any effect on the content or quality of my review.
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