Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Corpse of St. James's: Review

The Corpse of St. James's is my third mystery by Jeanne M. Dams in two weeks.  I'm all caught up on her Dorothy Martin series--which is a good thing, I think.  I do believe this series is better in small bites rather than large gulps.  Although, I must admit that I liked this round better than the last one (The Evil That Men Do).  

We start out with a rather nice travelogue of London--just a short tour, nothing too long and involved--and a brief re-introduction to our heroine (for anyone who has missed the previous eleven outings).  Then it's straight down to business.  Dorothy and her husband, Alan Nesbitt, are off to Buckingham Palace to witness their good friend ex-Chief Inspector Jonathan Quinn receive the George Cross from the Queen.  After the ceremonies, they go for a relaxing walk in St. James's Park--only life is rarely relaxing for long when Dorothy Martin is around.  They stumble across the body of a young girl hidden under a bush in a normally restricted area of the park.

Before long, Dorothy is wondering about the details and finds herself headlong into unofficial investigations when Jonathan reveals that he knows who the girl was.  Soon the decorated hero is suspect number one and Dorothy and Alan...and all the friends they can muster into service...are on the hunt for the real villain of the piece in the hopes that he can be found before Britain's scandal sheet press get hold of the juicy story.  Dorothy winds up talking to palace footmen, the handler of the famous royal Corgis, and members of the art world before the crime is finally solved.

There are some good moments in this one--more than the previous book, and Dorothy & Alan's relationship is a real gem.  I enjoy they way they mentor Jonathan.  I would have to say that the redeeming qualities in these cozy mysteries are primarily in the characters.  The motive for the murder is a little far-fetched, but there are some interesting twists and some fair clues.  Three stars.


Man of la Book said...

Are you reading the series in order? I'm somewhat anal about that even though most books in a series are standalone.

Bev Hankins said...

Man of la Book: I had read all of these (1-9) as they came out, but then got away from them for awhile. I too am a little anal about reading in order--and when I saw the latest one sitting on the "New Releases" shelf at the library, I went and grabbed the two previous that I hadn't read yet. Long way 'round to say "Yes." :-)

Ryan said...

I'm always a little curious as to have characters like this are able to popular in our culutre. She sounds a lot like Jessica Fletcher, everywhere she goes somebody dies. I think in real life, nobody would be friends with these people. Who wants to be around someone who seems to be around when someone drops dead all the time?