When the town mascot of Battle Lake, Minn., a 23-foot fiberglass statue of Chief Wenonga, goes missing, the town librarian/reporter/sleuth springs into action.
Truth be told, Mira James, recent refugee from the Twin Cities, has a bit of a crush on the Chief, especially since most of her love life with living males is in shambles. Her last boyfriend was murdered; now she has the hots for handsome gardening instructor Johnny Leeson. In the blazing midsummer, the town has been preparing for Wenonga Days when Prof. Dolly Castle heats up a town meeting with her objections to the stereotyping of American Indians, and Les Pastner, a local militia wannabe, demands that the festival be renamed White Man Days. The next morning the Chief is gone, leaving only a bit of blood and hair at the statue’s base as a clue. Dolly and Les, the likely candidates, are joined by the enigmatic Brando Erikkson, whose company built the statue, which he offers to replace with an irregular woodchuck. Things go from bad to worse when a corpse missing a patch of hair turns up in Johnny’s lakeside cabin and he’s arrested for murder, forcing Mira to put herself in jeopardy to save him.
Light on mystery, but Mira (June Bug, 2006, etc.) is an amusing heroine in a town full of quirky characters.