Mission Improbable: Vietnam (A Blanche Murninghan Mystery)
Nancy Nau Sullivan
It’s 2003, nearly 30 years after the Vietnam War…Blanche “Bang” Murninghan is sitting on the dock of the Peel ‘n Eat Pier on Santa Maria Island, sipping an excellent draft and wiggling her fishing pole after an elusive sheepshead. It’s hot out and the sun is shining. She doesn’t see the woman eyeing her from the fishing hut—not until she appears at Blanche’s side and forever disrupts Blanche’s peaceful idyll in this quiet Gulf coast town.
The woman is Jean McMahon and she needs Blanche’s help—her amateur sleuthing skills have become local legend after she helped solve the murder of a friend and dodge some drug-dealing land developers. Jean needs a good dose of that Blanche determination and doggedness. It’s not a simple favor Jean asks. Will Blanche go to Vietnam with her and look for Jean’s mother?
It’s as if Jean has ripped a new hole in Blanche’s heart. Her father was killed in Vietnam, and she’s never gotten much history from her beloved grandmother and mother on the subject. Jean’s request grows on her. Blanche wants the truth…Blanche and Jean don’t stop once they land in Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, and ex-pat “Stick” Dahlkamp makes sure of that. They pick up the search together. The three cross the rice paddies on Stick’s Honda Dream to Ben Tre and My Tho, old stomping grounds for Stick, a former Ninth Infantry Division Riverine and now bar owner of the popular, The Follies. He’s got friends in jungle towns who might help, and indeed they do. And don’t. Blanche begins to wonder if he’s running them off the road.
They trace Jean’s mother’s steps around South Vietnam, to where she met Hank McMahon, an infantry scout with the old Americal division. They meet more than one shady character who thinks it better to let things lie, deep and peaceful, just the way that they were after the horror of war passed. But Blanche’s stubbornness beats down the door. She is looking for Jean’s mother, and following her father’s trail. He left without a trace. Or did he? Does anyone?
About the Author:
Nancy Nau Sullivan’s SAVING TUNA STREET was a finalist for Foreword’s INDIES mystery of 2020. Third in the series, MISSION IMPROBABLE: VIETNAM launches June 25. Second in the series, TROUBLE DOWN MEXICO WAY (June 2021). She is also author of THE BOYS OF ALPHA BLOCK (April 2021) and an award-winning memoir, THE LAST CADILLAC. A former newspaper journalist, Nancy taught English at a Florida boys’ prison, in Argentina, and in the Peace Corps in Mexico. She lives in Northwest Indiana and, often, anywhere near water.