The smell of oil is in the air, and so is murder, when eighteen-year-old Eddie Tipton arrives in a small Texas town with his widowed mother in 1950. Eddie and his teacher mother take rooms in the home of Texas oil widow, Faye Ruth Collier. Eddie spends time with handyman Ned Cotton and soon learns that Mrs. Collier’s late husband was murdered a few years earlier. Ned Cotton warns Eddie to stay away from Faye Ruth and to ignore the murder of Lawrence Collier. Eddie, of course, cannot resist.
Making his way in a new school, dodging the stigma of being the schoolteacher’s son and succumbing to the lure of his middle-aged landlady, Eddie is embroiled in dangerous adventures on all fronts. He is befriended by two classmates, Hillyer and Lon, and engages these two smart boys to help him unravel the mystery of Lawrence Collier’s murder. Also, Eddie falls in love with a bright young student named Reenie Fontenot. And then, Eddie suffers a devastating loss, causing him to ratchet up his investigation and leading to a near fatal showdown.
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