Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Scent of Rain and Lightening by Nancy Pickard


Rose, Kansas, the Linder Ranch, and the Linder family.....

..............Jody Linder was left an orphan at the age of three, and the man who had been accused of killing her parents 20 years ago was being released from jail on this hot, muggy, rainless day in Rose, Kansas. Her uncles arrived together at her home to tell her the news.

The story then moves from the present back to the events that led up to the murder of Laurie and Hugh-Jay Linder. The Linder family owned a huge cattle ranch, and every family member except Belle along with hired hands, which included Billy Crosby, worked for them. Hugh-Jay Linder woke up one morning to broken fences and a dead, pregnant cow....he KNEW it had been Billy Crosby. Hugh-Jay planned a scenario to get Billy at the ranch and have him arrested for the crime.

As a thunderstorm is raging outside the tavern where the Linder children are enjoying their evening, along comes Billy Crosby saying there was no evidence that he broke the fences and killed the cow, and he was free and clear....he was also very drunk, crude, and loud, and was thrown out by the tavern owner. When everyone woke up the next morning, Annabelle Linder was rounding up her children to get some pancakes at a local restaurant. She had to go to her son's house to waken him and his wife but found the doors all locked, and that was unusual. She then found her son dead in an upstairs bedroom.....her screaming roused the neighbor, and he came running over to find the grisly scene. Billy Crosby was of course the sole suspect because of his previous actions and drunkenness from the night before and a trial took place.

The trial of Billy Crosby got him forty plus twenty years in prison for the murder....meanwhile the Linder family and the town of Rose, Kansas had to try to carry on.

It was always difficult when Annabelle Linder ran into Valentine Crosby and Collin Crosby....Billy's wife and son. Valentine and Collin were ostracized in the town, and poor Collin had a rough time at school as well.

Along with mourning their son and his wife, the senior Linders had to raise Jody and help her cope with the tragedy. It was a difficult ordeal for everyone. When things finally started getting back to normal, Billy Crosby is released from jail and the fear, memories, and pain all surface again. What made the release worse was the talk that some folks believed Billy never did kill Jody's parents, and that he had been framed.

Events lead to more trouble for the small town of Rose, Kansas, and the Linder family. The ending is a little predictable, but also a surprise. You will like the story. The ending is definitely a page turner. The love and the kindness the Linder family has for everyone draws you into the storyline. I am going to rate it a 4/5 because it was a little slow at times, but the mystery keeps you guessing.

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