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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Who Killed Dave Robicheaux' Mother?

Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux, #11)Purple Cane Road by James Lee Burke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ten years ago I visited New Iberia, Louisiana for the first time. It was around 2pm and we were looking for a place to eat lunch. Happening upon Victor's on Main Street, which was closed as were all the restaurants, there was a dusty sign in the window that read " Dave Robicheaux eats here!". I looked at my friend, shrugged my shoulders and said " whoever he is!".

Eleven books later I know who Dave Robicheaux is and I've become an annual visitor to New Iberia and Books on the Teche, where I obtain my next installment of his stories. I'm not sure how I came upon the first book in the series, The Neon Rain, written in 1987 and I am seriously behind in my reading, but, though each of the books is a stand alone story about a former New Orleans cop now working out of the New Iberia sheriff's department, I think it best to start with the first book to best enjoy this guy.

In this installment, all the regulars are back--Bootsie, his long suffering wife, Clete, his boozing best friend formerly NOPD, now a PI, Alafair, his adopted daughter, Tripod, her pet raccoon, Batist who works in Dave's bait shop, Helen, Dave's partner, the Sheriff. As usual we get to meet lots of the locals, pimps, drug dealers, prostitutes, politicians, dirty cops, and some of the more main stream types. In this installment, a young hit-man plays a major roll in leading Dave to the dirty cops who killed his mother years ago. The story winds through cane fields, down the four lane to Morgan City, into the bayou country south of New Orleans, over into Baton Rouge and, of course, New Orleans and Algiers. A subplot deals with the impending execution of a woman accused of murdering the former State Executioner as he begins to abuse a young girl as he'd abused the convicted woman and her sister years earlier.

As always, all the plot lines are neatly tied up by the end, there is satisfaction in the justice served, even if it isn't perfect and there is surprise when the people who murdered his mother are definitely identified, after pages of speculation. I'm ready for the next installment--Jolie Blon's Bounce. Even the titles are super Cajun, super New Iberia, super sensual--just like the stories.

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