Steel Blues - Jo Graham, Melissa Scott

As I mentioned in my review of Lost Things, the previous book in this series, I picked up these first 3 books from these authors in an omnibus ebook edition. As I'd got them, I went straight on from Lost Things to book 2, Steel Blues, in the hope that I might find something sufficiently interesting to hook me on the series and keep me going till book 3 (or possibly even further?) - alas, although I did actually find Steel Blues a more interesting book than its predecessor, it's still not quite interesting enough to make me divert for long from my TBR pile.

 

Steel Blues takes up a few months after the end of the previous book and, at its outset, Gilchrist Aviation is in serious financial trouble after the government has pulled the mail contracts from small companies. Another change, though not a major one, is that Alma and Lewis are now married, with their archaeologist friend Jerry teaching Latin at a nearby high school as everyone tries to make ends meet. It's at this point that they come across an announcement for a cross-country plane race and decide to fly to California in order to convince one of their old friends (who also happens to be the guy who designed the plane they intend to use) to stump up the entrance fee for them.

 

While in California, the sub-plot makes an appearance when a valuable (and also cursed) necklace is stolen and the thief subsequently stows away on the Gilchrist plane. The appearance of this necklace also ties in with the past for one of the other characters, who spent a while wandering around the southern states of the US after getting back from the war and who becomes convinced that he was responsible for a series of gruesome murders in New Orleans (not helped by the fact he was in a bit of a fugue state during that entire period and doesn't remember much of anything).

 

Anyway, the plane race is the bulk of the story-line, along with the necklace getting the chance to affect everyone at some point before everything gets resolved at the end. And also with a satisfactory alternative murderer being locked up, so our protagonists are still squeaky clean even if the period and the fact that one of them is a woman knocking around with 3 men makes everyone wonder just what the domestic arrangements are - the answer to that is, not as interesting as they could have been, and also not interesting enough to keep me reading into book 3.