Last night I couldn’t sleep…too many aches and pains from packing and hauling boxes I guess. Anyway, I read the above three cozy mysteries. Well actually I just finished the last part of the Ali Brandon and then read the other two.
Double Booked for Death was great. I loved the theme, even though the whole bookstore and cat thing has been done to death. This series even revives a little of the original Cat Who… series in which the cat gives hints in book titles.
The sleuth, Darla, really appealed to me. She comes across as intelligent and having common sense, very “real” feeling as a person. Her various sidekicks, Jake, a retired cop/store security/tenant, Hamlet, the series named “Black Cat”, and James, a retired Lit. professor/store manager all add to the story rather than detract from it. The book was very well written, with a higher level of vocabulary than often seen in cozies. There were many elements that gave it a modern feel, sometimes books can get “stuck” in a time and feel dated. There is the tiniest hint of a romance that might develop in future books, but the focus really was on the mystery. I did find a side plot resolution a little odd, but it was still ok. The only other negative was James’ behavior regarding some questionable business practice, I just don’t think a small business owner would be willing to allow an employee to buy up what would be valuable stock to flog on Ebay. It also seemed out of character for James as written.
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax was my first introduction to this older series. It is a book I never would have picked up on my own but it came highly recommended from a friend. Well written, fun and humourous, I did enjoy reading it. It is definitely not my normal type read. I don’t know if I would classify it as a mystery, it was more of a comedic twist of a spy/adventure story. Reminded me very much of Elizabeth Peters’ work and I’m sure Amelia Peabody fans would like it. The character of Mrs. Pollifax is delightful and her relationship with Carstairs and the other spies or operatives is engaging. I’m sure I will read more of this in the future.
A Tough Nut to Kill is a brand new series. I attempted to grow nut trees once, years ago when I was married and we had a huge yard, well not huge by Texas standards I’m sure, but pretty big by Suburban NJ standards. They all died. So, I thought the nut farming theme might make for an interesting read. The book was well written and edited and full of local color for the Texas setting. The murder mystery was interesting and was tied to an older death in the family, so two mysteries twined together. I just didn’t connect with this one for some reason. I’m sure that it will work for other readers, particularly ones that are a fan of the Texas setting.