Jamie Quinn Mysteries Box Set Books 1 – 3

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00038]  I received this, Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection:  Box Set Books 1 -3 free from the author in return for a fair review.   The collection includes  Death By Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce, and Peril in the Park.

I read these through this afternoon as I lay inside avoiding the heat.   The series is based around a reluctant family  lawyer, Jamie Quinn, who has some leeway in how much she works due to the recent death of her mother and the inheritance she received as a result.  The three cases are very different.  The first involves Jamie being called in by her desperate aunt to defend Jamie’s cousin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and has been arrested for murder.  The second involves one of her family court cases that turns criminal, when her client is accused of murdering her soon to be ex and the third involves corruption and murder surrounding a real estate deal.  Throughout these, there is an overarching mystery about the identity and location of Jamie’s father.

Jamie is a great character, who shows resourcefulness and intelligence.  The cast of supporting characters include a PI, who Jamie helped in his divorce and now she calls on  for help.  Also, a long term lawyer friend, who Jamie consults with frequently, Nick, a prosecuter, who seems to have a grudging respect for Jamie, and Kip, an employee of the park service and an old friend that Jamie had lost track of for quite some time.  The mysteries are interesting, fast paced and resolved successfully.

My only issue with the set is that the individual books are too short and so to me they feel rushed, although to be fair I should clarify.  The three books together are just over 300 pages and so I would say that each one is just about a novella’s length.  I don’t tend to care for reading short mysteries and that is just a personal preference. I do know that there is a market now for these shorter stories, even James Patterson is releasing Bookshots, books under 150 pages.   I will say that reading them together, book 1,2 & 3 made it better for me because I could see the development of relationships between the recurring characters that you would get in a longer novel.  Nicely done mystery, interesting characters and setting, would be especially good for fans of shorter mysteries.

 

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An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym

I stumbled upon Barbara Pym some time ago after reading this article  A Nice Hobby, Like Knitting:  Barbara Pym   .  I first read Excellent Women and loved it and now I moved on to An Unsuitable Attachment, Barabara Pym’s so called lost novel.  It was written in 1963, but not found until after death in amongst her papers.  Originally published then in 1982.

 

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An Unsuitable Attachment is about love, what is it and how do we know, relationships, how they form with the help or hinderance of others, men and women, and social expectations and transactions.  The characters are written in ways that allow you to see these quite ordinary people behaving in a variety ways with changes in circumstances and yet remaining true to their characters, much lke real people.  The issues of power between men and women are written here in such a way that neither sex is demonized nor idolized.  I really appreciate that!

Love and marriage are not easy, nor are they THE solution seems to the takeaway from this novel.  Just as in Excellent Women, many of the characters are involved directly or indirectly with the church and yet this is not a preachy or religious book. Some of the characters reveal that they are not believers or they simply go to church as a social event or to be polite.  The church is presented more as a social institution about good works, than a religous one.

The plot involves matchmaking attempts and failures, an eventual love match, hope for the future, hinted infertility, and acceptance of disappointment.  It begins with an eligible bachelor moving into a not quite fashionable community in London and the vicar’s wife setting her sights on him for her sister.  If you want to know more, you’ll need to read the book!  Highly recommended.