When Jasper Londsberry is murdered in cold blood while driving home from the local bar, the Dirty Dog Saloon, the Albuquerque locals are stunned. Jasper was a wealthy man and universally liked; why would anyone want to kill him? Though it appears to have been random, Jasper’s secretary Josie can’t help but muse with her friends over who might have wanted her boss dead. And when multiple townspeople approach Josie about Jasper’s financial affairs, desperate for a piece of his wealth, she begins to wonder if someone did have an incentive to murder him after all.
Josie is an interesting narrator for The Dirty Dog Saloon, well placed inside Jasper’s inner circle, yet able to scrutinize the situation with a sharp, objective eye; however, the reader never gets to know Josie. She doesn’t merit a physical description and isn’t given a history until halfway through the novel. Indeed, most of the characters in the book suffer from the same fate, many thrown at the reader with little description or background. It makes for difficult comprehension in the beginning, as the reader has to keep the characters straight and sort out situations and relationships through vague references.
The plot moves quickly and the mystery is engaging. Josie’s keen, watchful eye makes for entertaining reading, and she delivers commentary that gives readers insight into the characters, such as, “It would have taken a very dull mind indeed not to guess what kind of help Francis might expect from me but, of course, I played innocent.” Overall, The Dirty Dog Saloon is a diverting mystery, and as long as readers are more interested in plot than character development, it makes for a satisfying read.
Also available in hardcover.