My sister and I share a passion for equine mysteries which began way back in 1977, when I discovered Dick Francis’s IN THE FRAME--the fateful book that shoved my life’s path off course. After reading ITF, I read every book that Francis had published at the time, quit my government job, and went to work in the horse industry, where I stayed for 25 years.
I also introduced Francis’s mysteries to my sister, and thus began a gift-giving tradition between us. Francis’s books are released in October, so every Christmas thereafter, my sister would give me his latest release. I have to admit, it was sometimes tough waiting those two months before I could get my hands on his next mystery, but the wait was always worth it.
Nowadays, when my sister stumbles upon other equine mysteries, she passes them along to me once she’s read them, and HEX by Maggie Estep was one of those books.
HEX is not your typical equine mystery, though. The main character, Ruby Murphy, eventually goes undercover at Belmont Racetrack; although, the equine element is secondary, story-wise, to Ruby Murphy’s unique life and friends. You could even say that the mystery is in third place--HEX not being your typical mystery. In fact, if no one had been murdered in the entire book, I wouldn’t have been surprised.
What HEX is, is beautifully written, fun, and compelling. The lyrical, intelligent writing comes as no surprise since Estep is a poet. The book’s format is different, as well, consisting of possibly five, first-person, point-of-view narratives.
One horsey aspect that I found quite interesting and unique was the description of a horse stable in Harlem (I believe) near the beach. Okay, New York’s geography is totally obscure to me, so I have no idea if this is even remotely possible, but . . . it sounded cool. I wonder if the place truly exists.
HEX is followed by two other Ruby Murphy mysteries: FLAMETHROWER and GARGANTUAN. I’m looking forward to reading both. For more information, visit Maggie’s website: http://www.maggieestep.com/index.html