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Do Unto Others [Mass Market Paperback]

Jeff Abbott
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1994 Jordan Poteet Mystery
Jordan Poteet has left the big city to work as a librarian in his hometown of Mirabeau, Texas. But his dream of the quiet life is shattered when he locks horns with Miss Beta Harcher, the town's prize religious fanatic, in a battle over censorship. When Jordan finds her murdered body in the library, he becomes the prime suspect. And when the police find a cryptic list stashed next to her fanatical heart, it seems as if Beta Harcher has the whole town in a death grip . . .

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From Publishers Weekly

Abbott's debut mystery is a bright, often funny portrayal of the social mechanics of a small town, where, as the narrator/accused/detective quickly discovers, everyone has something to hide. Jordan Poteet has left a thriving publishing career back East to return to his home town in Mirabeau, Texas-a town as backward and insulated as any cliche-to care for his ailing mother and work as the local librarian. Quickly, Jordan is accused of the gruesome murder of a nasty, churchgoing town elder who is at odds with the library's "liberal" policies. With a redneck assistant D.A. on his heels, Jordan tries to prove his innocence. Abbott is highly skilled and at ease with the twang and tone of Texas folk and often seems in control of his story. The problem is Abbott has stuffed his relatively short book full-too full. He covers almost every hot topic from censorship to religious fanaticism to Alzheimer's to blackmail. The cast of characters is so vast that Abbott is forced to rehash his hero's suspect list more than once, and though the sweetly handled and satisfying romantic subplot stands out, more often readers will find themselves lost in a sea of personalities. While often engaging, Abbott simply weaves too large a web for a small-town tale. It's a little hard to imagine how this once-in-a-lifetime will translate into the series promised by the cover.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

When his mama gets Alzheimer's and needs a caregiver, Jordan Poteet leaves his job in Boston to go home to Mirabeau, Texas. Luckily, the job as head of the Mirabeau library opens up, so even though Jordy doesn't have an MLS (gasp!), he's hired. Local harpy Beta Harcher immediately jumps on Jordy's case about the library's owning smut by authors like Twain, Lawrence, and Hawthorne. Unfortunately, the day after she and Jordy have a big argument, the woman is found bludgeoned to death, and Jordy ends up tops on Sheriff "Junebug" Moncrief's suspect list. Jordy knows he didn't kill Beta, and he doesn't want to end up in the pokey, so he decides to find the murderer. Abbott's writing is folksy and full of cornpone humor, and the plot is one of those every-small-town-has-secrets types, but there are some nice comic touches, Jordy is a likable fellow, the action is flashy, and the ending is heartwarming. And it's always nice to encounter a librarian-sleuth, even one sadly lacking in professional credentials. Emily Melton

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IT WAS REALLY RUDE OF BETA HARCHER TO argue with me right before she got killed. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Jordan Poteet April 13 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book introduces the character Jordan Poteet for the beginning of several good mysteries. I feel like the discovery that Jordy's father isn't who he thought it was is important to his character development in this book. It also sets the stage for the frame of mind that Jordy is in through the book's main plot line - the investigation of Beta's death.
Living in Texas for the past 6 years makes the setting of these books feel homey even though I live in a different location of Texas. It also causes the action to feel closer to home and heightens the suspense for me.
Overall, Jordy is a warm, likable character. The fact that he is not a professional PI, but manages to stumble through a murder mystery makes his character easy to relate to. I recommend giving the Jordan Poteet mysteries a try starting with the first one (Do Unto Others) even if you just check it out from the library. I highly recommend reading any of Jeff Abbott's other books featuring Whit Mosely.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful debut novel Oct. 14 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jeff Abbott catches the atmosphere of small-town Texas to perfection in this, his first novel. His hero is Jordy Poteet, just returned from Boston to care for his mother who has Alzheimer's. In contrast to his job as editor in Boston, Jordy becomes the head librarian in his old hometown. His nemesis is Beta Harcher, a religious zealot who is singlehandedly attempting to censor many of the best books in the library. Jordy and Beta have a loud disagreement, and the next day Beta is found murdered. Jordy's old schoolmate Junebug, now the town sheriff, fingers Jordy as the chief suspect. Jordy sets out on his own investigation as an act of self-defense. He discovers a list of townspeople which Beta compiled and beside each name is a scripture reference. Jordy talks to each person on the list and looks up the Bible verses, in an attempt to solve the murder. This book is well-written and has interesting characters and a well-conceived plot.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Texas Cozy Dec 12 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jordy Poteet runs afoul of the local religious fanatic in his little Texas town. Since he's the head librarian, she sees him as the main purveyor of filth in their small community. When she wallops him with a copy of DH Lawrence's Women in Love, he makes a threat that will come back to haunt him. She's found dead in the library of a wallop from a baseball bat. A list of names followed by Bible verses leads to Jordy uncovering a multitude of sins among the population. And why is his mother, an Alzheimer's patient, on the list? The answer to that question leads to a profound change in Jordy's life. Distinctively Southern in tone, Abbott's debut talks with a Dixie accent. His small town characters ring true-- from the local police force to the little old lady who writes steamy romances to the preacher and his wife. This is a promising start. I've already begun the followup and, so far, it is just as enjoyable.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed but stereotypical... June 17 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jeff Abbott's "Do Unto Others" is certainly an impressive mystery debut, but while the thrills add to the story, many stereotypical "small-town" characters subtract from it. Basically, according to this book: all "Christian" characters are hypocrites, extortionists or psychotic killers. The more interesting(and sympapathetic ones) is a Vietnam vet/drug dealer, a car salesman with a dirty secret(one of this book's better subplots), and a nurse character. This book does realisticly portray Alzheimer's, so that's a plus. 3 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very humorous, with a very believable setting. Oct. 7 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Despite the seemingly dark plot (the murder of an ultra religious lady in a small town's library), this is in fact a very humorous, very funny story. Although the events in the last few chapters are perhaps revealed too abruptly, compared to the rest of the book, the ability of the author to think up so many interesting and intriguing events and twists in a small town setting is to be admired.
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