Saturday, June 14, 2014

Circles in the Snow by Patrick F. McManus

Sheriff Bo Tully is thinking about retiring in Patrick F. McManus sixth mystery featuring the Idaho lawman, Circles in the Snow. But, the only honest sheriff of Blight County has one more murder to investigate, and a couple more situations to handle before he can settle in his cabin.

Tully and his father, Pap Tully are out observing eagles in December when Bo notices the tip of an arrow sticking out of the snow. And, of course the arrow is in the body of a man buried in that snow. Morgan Fester was a local rancher, and Bo could think of a number of people who might have wanted the man dead. And, the first place he starts is with Fester's ranch. What a surprise to learn that Fester's wife happened to leave for Mexico the very day her husband died. What a surprise to learn that all the ranch hands liked Mrs. Fester, but no one really liked her husband.

Funny how that sort of thing happens in Blight County. When a storekeeper at Clyde's General Store claims some young men robbed him, the local eyewitness sides with the young men. And, when a man is arrested after he shoots up some cars when some wealthy young guys were harassing him, the sheriff finds a way to handle the shooter in "The Blight County Way". While Bo is shrewdly appearing to bumble his way around, the editor and sole reporter of the Silver Tip Miner seems to be one step ahead of him, recording the sheriff's story.

An escaped convict. A fortune teller who predicts danger for the sheriff. A bordello and a jail where two of the best cooks in the county work. Just daily routine for Tully. Sheriff Bo Tully knows when it's time to wrap up a successful career. "Just his luck to be stuck with the stupid murder of someone most sensible people hated anyway." When he felt bad that a good person murdered a bad one, he knew he couldn't be sheriff any longer.

Patrick F. McManus' mysteries always remind me of Bill Crider's. Both authors introduced shrewd country sheriffs who tolerate staff members who boss them around and, essentially, pick on the sheriff. But Crider's books involve more mystery. McManus is actually a humor writer who emphasizes nature; the setting, the snow, eagles, hunting. Pap, and Bo's relationship with people provide much of the humor in McManus' books. If you enjoy humorous nature stories, try McManus. I would suggest though, that you meet Bo and Pap Tully in The Blight Way, and turn to Circles in the Snow when you're ready for Bo's retirement.

Patrick F. McManus' website is

Circles in the Snow by Patrick F. McManus. Skyhorse Publishing. 2014. ISBN 9781629141701 (hardcover), 231p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


SandyG265 said...

Thanks. I like this series but didn't know there was a new book out.

Irene McKenna said...

Your description of this series as "humorous nature stories" intrigues me. It also sounds like these books are fairly character-driven mysteries, which I tend to like. I'll add the first book in this series to my list. Thanks!

Lesa said...

I have the feeling it's the last one in the series, Sandy. I hope you enjoy it!

Lesa said...

Is that an ever-growing list, like mine, Irene? Tough to keep up. I hope you enjoy it!