A Leprechaun’s Lament is the second Sam Jenkins mystery by Wayne Zurl I’ve read. I expected it to be an enjoyable story and it was. Light, funny at times, a bit of danger, just an overall good read.

Same Jenkins, chief of police in Prospect, Tennessee, is a retired New York City Detective. He’s a charming man, a little bit of a fish out of wated in small town Appalachia, but he’s charmed his way into the hearts of the locals. He’s also a good boss and has gotten some grant money thanks to the Patriot Act to do a background check on the town’s civilian employees, which will also give his staff a little overtime money which is always appreciated. Things run into a snag however, when Typewriter Murray, the office equipment repair guy, seems to have shown up out of nowhere thirty years ago. No birth certificate, the high school he claims to have gone to never heard of him, no driver’s license, doesn’t pay property taxes. He claims confusion and doesn’t remember where his documents are and is basically driving Jenkins and his staff crazy. Then, he turns up dead, shot in both knees and the temple. Sam and his staff have to find out who this guy was, who wanted to kill him, and why, questions that lead Sam to use all his resources, from local folks to the FBI, CIA, and even British and Irish authorities.

The plot is put together well, with just enough suspects and twists and turns to keep me interested without feeling overwhelmed. Sam follows the clues logically and calls in help when he needs to. The Tennessee setting is beautiful, although maybe not as much of a focus as I would like it to be. I can picture driving on the lonely backroads with the beautiful scenery all around- and Sam does have a nice car to drive around in.

I have to admit though that I have a minor crush on Sam. He’s a really good guy, charming, funny with a bit of the cop black humor. He’s in love with his wife and stays faithful even when tempted, but still flirts in a comfortable way with the women in town. He has a tendency to be almost be too witty, always trying to be amusing, but it fits with his character. He’s someone I would like to know. And he’s a reader, even special ordering out of print books from his local indie bookstore, which you have to love. The dialogue sparkles, although I have to admit that I can get a little tired of his impersonations.

I didn’t realize how many Sam Jenkins novels and novellas Zurl has written. I’m looking forward to reading more of Jenkins’ adventures.

4 out of 5 stars

Category: Mystery – Police Procedural

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Sam Jenkins #4 chronologically
Published March 15, 2012
224 pages

Book source: For review

Sam Jenkins Series – in chronological order

  1. Reenacting a Murder
  2. V   is for Vitamin
  3. Fate of a Floozy
  4. A New Prospect
  5. A Leprechaun’s Lament
  6. Heroes and Lovers
  7. Ground Hog’s Day
  8. A Labor Day Murder
  9. By the Horns of a Cow
  10. Serpents and Scoundrels
  11. Murder in a Wish-Book House
  12. A Murder in Knoxville
  13. A Fire and Old Ice
  14. Bullets Off-Broadway
  15. A Touch of Morning Calm
  16. A Can of Worms
  17. Scrap Metal and Murder
  18. Reenacting a Murder
  19. V is for Vitamin?
  20. The Great Smoky Mountain Bank Job

About Wayne Zurl

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators.
He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves.
Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara—not far from Prospect PD.