The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

  I picked this up on impulse from the library, I’d heard good things about it and read other books be Lisa Jewell and enjoyed this.

This book is about denial, the facade people put up for everyone else to see, the intricate nature of family and relationships, and growing up.  The story concerns Maya, who walks, lurches, or stumbles in front of bus, dying immediately.  She is the third wife of Adrian and involved in a complex family relationship with Adrian, his two ex-wives and his five children.  Adrian is happy in this world he has created in which all his wives and children are happy and content with his decisions, to leave one and go on to the next, to all holiday together, to pass children back forth as packages.  For some reason, perhaps force of his personality, perhaps fear of being excluded, Adrian’s family supports and maybe believes his delusion themselves.

Things change with the death of 3rd wife Maya, here is a woman Adrian didn’t have a chance to leave, to move on from and he can’t handle the grief.  No one has ever left him before, he does the leaving in his world.  The ramifications of Maya’s death echo through the family uncovering all the dirty little secrets (maybe everyone isn’t so happy in this broken/rebuilt family) and the ocean of denial that Adrian lives in.  I think Caroline (the 2nd wife) said it best:

You exist only in the world according to you. You think the rules are for other people.  You think anyone who tells you the truth is being mean.  You have this innate belief in your own fairy-tale narrative.

Excellently written.  Perfect narrative about the perils of reaching late adulthood without ever really growing up.

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A Slice of Murder by Chris Cavender

 I have to admit I have avoided this series for a long time because it seemed, well, just a little hokey.  I mean really a pizza themed cozy mystery?  However, I have been enjoying the Donut Shop series by Jessica Beck and discovered that Chris Cavender and Jessica Beck are both pennames for Tim Myers, so I decided to try it.

This is this first in the series.  The setting is a pizza parlour run by a widow and her sister in a small town.  There is some discussion of pizza’s and pizza making but it does not overwhelm the mystery that develops.  Eleanor is delivering a pizza and finds the homeowner stabbed to death.  The police suspect her as the person who discovered the body and had a brief history with the victim.  Eleanor and her sister investigate to clear her of the crime.  The police “investigation” is a little light in reality and any technical aspects, however this is not a police procedural.  I did like that for once in a cozy the protagonist takes a lawyer with her to her questioning.  That is a step anyone should do, but seldom occurs in cozy mysteries.

There are a few red herrings and suspicous characters hanging about, but my gut instinct was right so I guessed the killer relatively early on.  I still enjoyed the book and the reveal was a confirmation of what I thought.  Likeable protagonist, hints at possible romance, and decent plot.  Overall a good start for a cozy mystery series.