Buy Now on Amazon.ca
Buy Now on Amazon.com
Well, it is my type of mystery--cozy, not gory, featuring good-natured amateur sleuths and even recipes--just like an episode of Murder, She Wrote. But...
It was readable, but not all that well-written. The author used italics for emphasis far too often, sometimes as many as half a dozen times on a page. Better writing could have built the tension without such a distracting device.
And also there were a few inconsistencies that never got resolved.
For instance, one character is run off the road when the killer sees her walking home at night. Normally she bikes home but apparently someone stole her bike. Her body is discovered when one of the sleuths (our supposed hero) catches a glimpse of her broken umbrella reflected in the moonlight. But if she biked to work and planned to bike back, why would she even have an umbrella? And was her bike stolen by the killer? Or just randomly stolen? It's small, I know, but it really bothered me.
Plus, as with any amateur sleuthing story, the hurdle the author must overcome is explaining why the hero didn't just go to the police with their information in the first place. Every author in the sub-genre has had to address it.
Agatha Christie often had her characters in remote locations where help is not readily available, in my opinion one of the most satisfying solutions as it makes the hero's actions seem perfectly logical under the circumstances and creates a sense of urgency in the narrative. The problem, of course, is that it greatly limits the setting and sets up some sort of time limit in which the plot can unfold.
Lawrence Block has his hero as a criminal, so naturally he can't go to the police. Kinky Friedman and Sam Spade (and countless others) are P.I.s, so are motivated to solve cases alone.
Many amateur sleuths are considered "experts" in such matters and are therefore often given insider info (Jessica Fletcher, for one).
Well if this isn't handled well, then the hero can just end up looking like an irresponsible busy body and looky-loo. That's what happened here.
Still, the series may have some potential.