Sunday, September 25, 2022

Corpse of Discovery (The Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries #9), by Karen Musser Nortman (author), Michelle Babb (narrator)

Karen Musser Nortman, September 2022

Frannie Shoemaker and husband Larry, along with friends Mickey and Jane-Ann Ferraro, and Rob and Donna--I think but will not swear I heard their last name as Kenwick--are on another RV camping adventure. Like many of their previous trips, this will be a little more exciting than they would really prefer.

This time they're at a campground adjacent to an annual celebration of Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery exploration of the massive land purchase, the Louisiana Purchase. There will be demonstrations and reenactments of the craftwork, survival skills, clothing, everyday life and food, and Native American dances. It should all be so much fun...

But after the Lewis & Clark trip was over, Meriwether Lewis became governor of the Missouri Territory, and died there in mysterious circumstances. His death could have been either murder or suicide, and the question was never satisfactorily answered. 

It should be no surprise that among enthusiasts of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, it can still be a heated topic of discussion among some. Frannie and friends meet a colorful cast of characters. include a professor whose book strongly supporting the suicide theory is about to be published, and a man named Dirk Smothers, who claims to have maps leading to the gold mine Lewis is rumored to have found, a gold nugget, and more papers that will, he claims, prove Lewis was murdered. He's regarded in the Corps of Discovery regulars as a marginal figure, not reliable, likely to be a conman. They don't believe him.

But just a couple of days into the event, Frannie and Donna go to his tent expecting to meet with him, and find his dead body. Because of the timing, during the flag raising ceremony, it's perfectly possible that the gunshots would not have been heard. As with Lewis, it's perfectly possible, on just this evidence, that it could have been either murder or suicide.

It's the early 21st century, though, not the early 19th century, and the police have both more tools, and more professionalism. It's not much of a spoiler to say there will be another death, and that Frannie will be in danger herself.

An amusing change from previous entries in the series is that Frannie, for once, really tries to follow Larry's advice to not get involved. She really, really does.
It's another fun entry in the series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As usual, Michelle Babb did an excellent job narration.


I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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