This second adventure finds Bones and The Duchess (Verity Buscador), soon working together again to solve a suspicious fire at the local church. Ephesus, Pennsylvania is a small borough with around six thousand folks. Their all volunteer fire department is pushed to the max by the blaze at The Christian Fellowship Church. Because of recent events involving the missing girls’ case (“To Oz and Back”), Reverend Sterling Ringer hires Bones to find out who started the fire. As a condition of being hired, Bones has to get The Duchess to help.

He, like many others in the borough, believe that The Duchess actually was the one that solved that case. That reputation, along with doing the right thing, is what caused Bones to lose his job with the local police in the aftermath of that case. Unemployed and still living at Broad Street Hotel run by The Duchess’ grandparents the case means he is available and will get paid – if he can get the Duchess to help. The Duchess already is sure who did it but Bones isn’t sure and before long the two are investigating suspects and working the case

Aimed at readers in the 9 to 12 year old age range, this is the second novel in the series featuring The Duchess. A bright twelve year old with Asperser’s syndrome who sees things in a different way than most. While the actual syndrome is quite broad, her situation is very narrowly defined. Therefore, her situation is only occasionally apparent as the story moves forward.

She is joined by this novel by Danny, the adopted son of the Reverend and his wife. His behavior could be interpreted be readers as classic ADHD though it isn’t spelled out directly as it is for the Duchess. It is noted in the story that he isn’t mediated because it is a small town and folks are understanding of him.

With a theme of forgiveness and understanding, this is an interesting tale is an enjoyable second installment in the series. It works well for the targeted age group though more advanced readers may find it some what lacking. Read as a stand alone or as part of the series, the tale is a good one.

Holy Smoke: A Bones & The Duchess Mystery

Alexandra Eden

Allen A. Knoll Publishers


ISBN# 1-888310-46-4



117 Pages


Book provided by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2009

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