Small town librarian Gwen Barlow gets more than she expected when she inherits her Uncle Eli's lavish Mississippi showboat only to discover that the Jubilee Palace is in serious financial straits, Uncle Eli's death by a falling theater backdrop is under suspicion, and the showboat family of actors and musicians are the major suspects.

Published by Five Star.  Available in hard cover at most libraries, large print and on-line in trade paperback.

Read A Review:

It’s 1898 and Gwen Barlow’s mother, Lillian, has just inherited her brother Eli Willoughby’s showboat, the Jubilee Palace.  Lillian, Gwen and Gwen’s younger brother Preston, leave Ohio for the Mississippi River to live on and run the showboat.  Once they arrive, they find out that many called it Eli’s Folly.  It is best described as a “wedding cake with a pilot house.” 

Marianne Dresden, Dickey Squires, Anabel Whitedove, Sir Clyde Peacock, and Jason DeVane live on the showboat and are in the show Belle of the Ozarks.  Gwen is unsure of what role Travis Veazey plays in the workings of the showboat.  His appearance shows he has an aversion  to soap and barber shops.  He also lives on the showboat.  Phineas Johnson, his wife Peaches, and their daughter Danita also live on the showboat as the hired help.  The Barlows quickly find out that no one has been paid for a couple of months. 

After they arrive, they find out that the showboat is not allowed to leave Hickory Bend until Eli’s murder is solved.  They also find out that Eli left debts around town.  Gwen and Preston begin meeting with his creditors but soon find out that Eli wasn’t well liked. 

Gwen begins looking into solving her uncle’s murder to help get the showboat on its way and making money to begin paying everyone. 

This is a terrific story.  Usually I don’t like stories set back in time, but this one is a great exception.  The characters and setting are so well written.  I found it difficult to put the book down.  I wanted to find out who did it and why.  It is a very well written story with enough twists and turns that you don’t figure it out ahead of time. 

I highly recommend this book and look forward to more in this series!

Dawn Dowdle