Monday, June 09, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Muted Mermaid by Del Staecker

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Muted Mermaid by Del Staecker. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Muted Mermaid by Del StaeckerBuy from

The Muted Mermaid by
A Ledge Trabue Mystery

Cable Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9799494-6-7 (0979949467)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9799494-6-3 (9780979949463)
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Ledge Trabue's idyllic boating vacation ends abruptly when the body of a young woman floats into his life. Was she murdered?

The Nashville police quickly--almost too quickly--rule her death a suicide and close the case. But Trabue's suspicions skyrocket when the young victim's father arrives unexpectedly on Trabue's boat and accuses him of his daughter's murder!

Soon, Trabue finds himself deeply involved in uncovering the truth and slowly realizes there is a truly malevolent force pervading the Music City.

Review: Del Staecker introduces Rutledge "Ledge" Trabue in The Muted Mermaid, an exciting and absorbing mystery of murder among the business elite in Nashville.

While boating down Tennessee's Cumberland River, Ledge comes upon a fallen tree in the water that has trapped the body of a young woman, a body that Ledge believes had apparently been dumped in the river with the expectation that it would disappear over a dam and not be found until it was miles away. Someone got careless and Ledge is now caught in the middle.

The woman is quickly identified as Karen Blaine. Karen's father, Win, just as quickly assumes Ledge is the killer though the police somewhat inexplicably rule the death a suicide. Though Win doesn't quite believe that Ledge is innocent, he agrees to allow him to help find the true cause of his daughter's death. As Ledge starts on his quest, he calls an old friend, a former cop, for help. Others quickly get involved as allies in his investigation including a cab driver, his wife, son and daughter-in-law. Even the medical examiner of Nashville participates in finding the truth. With this unusual group of people who, like a secret organization become tight-knit and tight-lipped, they work in their own way to determine who may have killed Karen, and potentially several others, and why.

One of the best elements of The Muted Mermaid is the characters which are so well developed that they become like new neighbors to the reader. Though each adds their own expertise to the case, their camaraderie makes their collective investigation more meaningful. The murder mystery plot is also well done though it is possibly not as suspenseful (from a "whodunit" perspective) as it might have been.

Should successive books featuring Ledge Trabue be as character-driven as The Muted Mermaid, it bodes well for a series worth reading now and looking forward to.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Muted Mermaid and to Del Staecker for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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  1. It's a wonderful book-the characters are fantastic. The author is a real storyteller with insight.

  2. From the Prologue to The Muted Mermaid's unsettling end, Del Staecker's book kept me on the edge of my seat, turning pages and wanting more! Great characters, intricate plot, intelligent social commentary. A tightly written "thinking person's" mystery for anyone who wants a really great "read".



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