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THE POT THIEF MYSTERIES by J. Michael Orenduff

 Have you discovered Hubie, Susannah & crew yet?  The mysteries are set in New Mexico with the cuisine, peoples, and history playing a large role in the series.  Hubie is intelligent and just quirky enough to be entertaining and endearing. Start with the first, THE POT THIEF WHO STUDIED PYTHAGORAS, and find out what you’ve been missing.

4.5 stars

THE POT THIEF WHO STUDIED PYTHAGORAS centers around two Mogollon pots.  The Mogollon’s mysteriously disappeared about a thousand years ago.  Most people, with the exception of archaeologists and scholars, are unaware of them.  When Hubert Schuze is asked to liberate the pot currently residing in the Valle del Rio Museum he seriously considers the offer.  However, other events, including murder, put Hubie in the unenviable position of having to solve the murder and mystery surrounding the two Mogollon pots; with the assistance of a friend or two of course.  

Hubert Schuze stars in the Pot Thief series of mysteries. Hubert, or Hubie as he’s affectionately known, is a pot shop owner and pot thief.  The latter is open to interpretation depending on your views regarding artifact reclamation. Hubert is one of the most unique and interesting characters I’ve come across in a mystery in quite a while. I love his SAP’s ~ Schuze’s Anthropological Premises.

The supporting cast is just as interesting as Hubie himself.

Susannah, his best friend with a Basque surname I won’t even attempt, is a perpetual student.  They meet evenings at 5 at Dos Hermanas for margaritas and maybe dinner, margaritas definitely.  I love the dynamics between Hubie and Susannah.  Their dialog is warm, witty, and a delight to read.  The fact that they care about each other is reflected in their conversations and actions; absolutely wonderful.

Tristan, Hubie’s cousin/nephew is the techno/computer whiz and heartthrob.  Their relationship is also warm and funny as Tristan tries to bring Hubie into this century regarding technology.

Ms.Gladys Claiborne also owns a shop in Old Town Plaza. Ms.Gladys always seems to have a casserole or some other unique recipe to share.  She’s quite fun and endearing.

Whit Fletcher, Detective First Grade with the Albuquerque police department, is an old acquaintance of Hubie’s.  Hubie often assists Fletcher in supplementing his income.

Martin Seepu lives in a pueblo on the reservation.  Hubie often buys pots from his uncle. He wants to his people to educate themselves while retaining their culture and assisting each other.  Get an education and come back to the reservation.

Consuelo Sanchez was housekeeper for Hubie’s parents and second mother to Hubie.  Emilio is the man she married after she left their employ.  Hubie is close to Consuelo and Emilio and credits her with teaching him to cook Mexican and to speak Spanish.  

THE POT THIEF WHO STUDIED PYTHAGORAS is an intelligent, witty, warm, and erudite read. New Mexico, the cuisine, peoples (past and present), and history play a large part in both the mystery and the lives of the characters, particularly Hubie.  I learned a lot that I was unaware of.  Not just about New Mexico but also Pythagoras, I had no clue he wrote poetry among other things.  I also learned a new word.  That’s always a thrill for me.

If you desire an intelligent mystery that educates; with a protagonist that has just enough quirk to make him fun and interesting combined with endearing secondary characters, look no further than THE POT THIEF series.  It scores on every level.  I’m so pleased to have discovered them and look forward to Hubie and Susannah’s next adventure.

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