Friday, December 3, 2010

Behold, a Mystery! (Review)

To be honest, this one was a bit of a let down. I was all set to add this to my Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge list--because the book-flap touts this as a murder that take place over the Christmas holiday. And quite frankly, there is no mention of Christmas in the entire book. Yes, we're told the action takes place at the end of December, but for all the description we're given it could take place at any time from November through the spring thaw. So, I can't in all fairness claim this as a Christmas read. Ah well, there are other books....

In this book, we find Jessica Greenwood, poor relation and companion to her elderly aunt, in the middle of a murderous mystery. Someone--most likely one of her cousins--has poisoned Aunt Hettie the better to get at their inheritance. Except, contrary to family rumor, Aunt Hettie has not left her fortune to the men in the family. When the will is read, it reveals that Jessica is the heiress--provided she marries one of her cousins within a year. The difficulty is how can she choose knowing that one of them is a murderer? The local Justice of the Peace refuses to call in Bow Street to investigate, virtually throwing Jessica on the mercy of the killer. So, Jessica takes it upon herself to look for clues to the killer's identity.

This is a rather pedestrian mystery. I spotted the killer very early and found some of the characters rather annoying. Jessica is the best of the main characters--but I would take the maid Mary over any of them. Period detail is decent and the writing style is much better than the mystery itself. Two and a half stars...just shy of a good, decent read.
*Read for the Holiday Read-a-thon (Dec 2-5)

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