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Carreta de La Muerte: A Taos Festival Mystery [Hardcover]

Mari Privette Ulmer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 15 2001 Taos Festival Mysteries
Enjoy Taos as it celebrates its sacred and secular festivals. It's murder. Ole!


The warm portrait of New Mexico's Hispanic community recalls Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me Ultima (0-446-60025-3) or John Nichol's Milagro Beanfield War (0-345-41016-5).
The Taos Festival mysteries continue with Las Fiestas! Christina Garcia y Grant's lovely old hacienda, converted from her grandmother's gracious abode to a B&B so that lawyer Christy can pursue a writing career, is bursting with guests. Not all of them are welcome. Meanwhile, the Friday night La Fiestacita summons la gente, the people. Though they have come to party, the presence of La Doqa Sebastiana, Death, is a reminder that life is only worth living if Death is close at hand. "It's the edge, the risk, that gives color."
La Doqa Sebastiana does summon someone to her death cart before the night is over, only the partygoers don't know it. Newcomer Evelyn Bottoms, a suave Englishman, is unaware that his gallery El Museo has been burglarized and Bobby Mascarenas killed. Missing is Cindy, Bobby's co-employee and the date of lawyer Ignacio Baca, who spends La Fiestacita looking vainly for her. The next morning reveals the grim story.
Christy, moved by Iggy's grief and willing to help her new friend, Dr. Bottoms, queries her primo, Police Chief Garcia, and learns that her cousin has little to go on. Aided by her more-or-less permanent boarder (and suitor) Mac McCloud, a retired surgeon, and her old friend La Doqa Abogado, New Mexico's first woman lawyer, Christy queries the local arts community and learns that someone is stealing priceless art from local churches. Is there a link between the robberies and the murder? And there seemto be a lot of newcomers to town...


Product Details


Product Description

From Amazon

Christina Garcia y Grant, the heroine of Mari Ulmer's debut mystery Midnight at the Camposanto, is a multifaceted woman. She is formerly a lawyer, presently the proprietress of a charming bed and breakfast, and a hopeful author. She's also a young widow with her eye on a retired doctor who came to Christy's B&B on a sentimental journey (he and his late wife were frequent visitors before her death) and stayed on.

Christy's second, relatively bloodless, adventure begins with the disappearance of a young woman who is a gallery assistant and the discovery of a body during the height of the annual Taos Fiesta, which figures prominently in the story. While Ulmer's gifts at describing the magnificent New Mexico landscape, the multiethnic milieu, and the cultures and norms of Anglo, Spanish, and Mexican society are impressive, the pacing, drama, and suspense aren't yet quite as well developed. The mystery is less the centerpiece than the side dish of this nonetheless appetizing entrée. Fans of Tony Hillerman and other writers who've made this territory their own will be intrigued. --Jane Adams

From Library Journal

Author/lawyer/sleuth Christina Garcia y Grant tackles her second murder case, surrounded by familiar faces from Midnight at the Camposanto. Dr. Evelyn Bottoms, a charming newcomer to Taos (and self-proclaimed "recoverer" of local Spanish religious art) becomes a suspect when one of the employees at his gallery/museum is found murdered and another goes missing possibly with some sacred art. Christy defends Bottoms, whose attentions arouse jealousy in her tenant, Mac, who helps out at Christy's bed-and-breakfast hacienda. Exuberant descriptions of the changing indigenous culture, local characters, and New Mexico surroundings pervade an exciting plot. Recommended where Southwestern mysteries are popular.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Slush in the desert Dec 6 2001
Format:Hardcover
Though the backdrop of Taos supplies much that is rich and rewarding, getting through this book is more like wading through slush. It needs tighter editing and stronger writing. We don't find out much about characters from their behavior; the author supplies all that stuff. We get lots of details about meals and wearing apparel, but it has nothing to do with the nominal plot. One can be optimistic and look forward to increasing strength in the writing with future books.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder and intrigue in Taos May 22 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is the second highly readable book in Mari Ulmer's murder mystery series set in Taos, NM. The book is rich in atmosphere and abounds with colorful characters from Taos's unique blend of Spanish, Native American, and Anglo cultures. Featured are: a reluctant sleuth who would rather be writing fiction than solving mysteries; a pair of foppish art dealers who are mysteriously poisoned; a suspicious entrepreneur; a corrupt archivist; and many more characters. The plot has a surprise twist that will astonish even the most jaded readers.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Buy for all Mystery Readers April 3 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
If you like Tony Hillerman's books; you will love these. Mari Ulmer has created an unique series of mysteries set during the feast and festival days of Taos, New Mexico. Her heroine and hero and engaging and fun. The book leaves you feeling like you just spent two wonderful weeks in Taos actually taking part in the festival; standing in the plaza in the hot sun, eating fried onions and peppers, following the parade into the quiet, dusky confines of the church.
Along the way, you dine with the residents, visit all the historic places and stay in the local bed and breakfast, a wonderful old haceinda. This is a terrific new author and I can't wait for the next book.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A regional mystery that is fantastic Feb. 15 2001
By Harriet Klausner TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
After her husband died, attorney Christina Garcia y Grant returns to her hometown of Talpa, New Mexico just south of Taos. Talpa is a small community where crime rarely happens and Catholicism is firmly rooted. At times there is a feeling of the mystical in the air. Christy, tired of the law, turns her grandmother's hacienda into a bed and breakfast inn that is gaining in popularity.

While the townsfolk prepare for Las Fiestas holiday, a clever thief systematically steals valuable artifacts from the local churches. Further complicating matters, someone burglarizes a gallery killing an employ with another missing, the girlfriend of Christy's protege. The B&B owner and her close friends begin their brand of sleuthing in hopes of stopping a crime spree but mostly saving the life of an innocent.

Mari Ulmer creates a story line that often reads like a ballad even though the tale is a regional mystery. The culture of an old fashioned town vividly comes to life in CARRETA DE LA MUERTE. Readers will admire the characters that star in this fresh and unusual series. There are some books that are so memorable they are unforgettable and this is one of them.

Harriet Klausner
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Buy for all Mystery Readers April 3 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you like Tony Hillerman's books; you will love these. Mari Ulmer has created an unique series of mysteries set during the feast and festival days of Taos, New Mexico. Her heroine and hero and engaging and fun. The book leaves you feeling like you just spent two wonderful weeks in Taos actually taking part in the festival; standing in the plaza in the hot sun, eating fried onions and peppers, following the parade into the quiet, dusky confines of the church.
Along the way, you dine with the residents, visit all the historic places and stay in the local bed and breakfast, a wonderful old haceinda. This is a terrific new author and I can't wait for the next book.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A regional mystery that is fantastic Feb. 15 2001
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
After her husband died, attorney Christina Garcia y Grant returns to her hometown of Talpa, New Mexico just south of Taos. Talpa is a small community where crime rarely happens and Catholicism is firmly rooted. At times there is a feeling of the mystical in the air. Christy, tired of the law, turns her grandmother's hacienda into a bed and breakfast inn that is gaining in popularity.

While the townsfolk prepare for Las Fiestas holiday, a clever thief systematically steals valuable artifacts from the local churches. Further complicating matters, someone burglarizes a gallery killing an employ with another missing, the girlfriend of Christy's protege. The B&B owner and her close friends begin their brand of sleuthing in hopes of stopping a crime spree but mostly saving the life of an innocent.

Mari Ulmer creates a story line that often reads like a ballad even though the tale is a regional mystery. The culture of an old fashioned town vividly comes to life in CARRETA DE LA MUERTE. Readers will admire the characters that star in this fresh and unusual series. There are some books that are so memorable they are unforgettable and this is one of them.

Harriet Klausner
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder and intrigue in Taos May 22 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the second highly readable book in Mari Ulmer's murder mystery series set in Taos, NM. The book is rich in atmosphere and abounds with colorful characters from Taos's unique blend of Spanish, Native American, and Anglo cultures. Featured are: a reluctant sleuth who would rather be writing fiction than solving mysteries; a pair of foppish art dealers who are mysteriously poisoned; a suspicious entrepreneur; a corrupt archivist; and many more characters. The plot has a surprise twist that will astonish even the most jaded readers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars surprise Jan. 22 2005
By michael saitta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Surprise - this is a good book. I didn't like Mari's first book very much. I only brought it because I collect books on New Mexico. I thought it was slow and she needed a good editor. She found one. This book I bought almost out of curiosity and am glad I did. CARRETA moves along at a much faster clip but still doesn't loose the ambience the author is after. I guess the best recommendation is that I'm looking forward to the next one. Ms. Ulmer did a good job this time. Good for her. To buyers: I don't know Mari Ulmer and have no need to push any of her books. I live in Laguna Beach, not Taos.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slush in the desert Dec 6 2001
By Jim Wickman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Though the backdrop of Taos supplies much that is rich and rewarding, getting through this book is more like wading through slush. It needs tighter editing and stronger writing. We don't find out much about characters from their behavior; the author supplies all that stuff. We get lots of details about meals and wearing apparel, but it has nothing to do with the nominal plot. One can be optimistic and look forward to increasing strength in the writing with future books.
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