Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Clubbed: Review

Synopsis (from book flap): Cranky Chamber of Commerce receptionist Betsy Dittmeyer is done reading people the riot act. After she’s crushed by a fallen bookcase, the next item to be read is her last will and testament—which is packed with surprises. It soon comes to light that Betsy was hiding volumes of dark secrets behind that perpetual frown of hers—and one of them just might have been a motive for murder.

While Tricia tries to help Angelica—the newly elected Chamber of Commerce president and Betsy’s boss—solve the mystery, she discovers a hidden chapter in her own family history that rocks her to her very core. And with her ex-husband and the chief of police vying for her affections, it’s doubly hard to focus on who might have buried Betsy in a tomb of tomes.

But as Tricia and Angelica try to read between the lines, they need to watch their step…and make sure the killer doesn’t catch them between the stacks.

My Take: This is going to be fairly short. Book Clubbed caught my eye on the New Arrivals shelf at the library. I mean, what's not to love? A mystery bookstore owner as amateur sleuth. With a cat named Miss Marple. A corpse killed by a fallen bookcase.  A clue in a family Bible. Books everywhere you look. I was in need of just six more library books to fulfill the I Love Library Books reading challenge and this seemed like a perfect entry--a quick, cozy read. At first I thought that maybe the reason I wasn't connecting with Tricia Miles and her sister Angelica (and about 95% of the rest of the characters) was because I hopped on the Booktown Mystery Train at stop number 8, but a glance through other less favorable reviews by readers who have been on board from the beginning lead me to surmise that it wouldn't have mattered much. Tricia apparently has been in a weird funk from her divorce (and other man troubles) all along. She's being stalked by her ex--I don't care what anyone says. The fact that he watches her every move from a window that looks down on her store and straight across from her apartment is very creepy. And, it's not enough that she's got hang-ups over men. She's also got her troubled relationship with her mother. 

Quite honestly, living inside her head and seeing the other characters from her point of view is no treat. She's labeled a goody two-shoes, but she's not particularly charitable in her thoughts about most of the others. When tragedy strikes at the end, I'm not even invested enough in her character to feel terribly sorry for her. The most sympathetic characters--in my opinion--are her employees.  Unfortunately, we don't see nearly enough of them. And let's not even talk about the dialogue...mostly flat, almost always at cross-purposes, and sometimes I'm left thinking "what-the-heck?" because the subject has just been changed abruptly for no discernible reason.

The good points? Decent mystery and plotting, although not enough clues displayed so the reader could possibly arrive at the solution on their own.  Booktown atmosphere is also a plus. But not enough good points to entice me into reading any more of the series.  ★★

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Ugh.... you had me at books... but now I'm so disappointed you were so disappointed. Nice, constructive and honest review!