32. Dying in Style by Elaine Vets
Publication: Signet (October 4, 2005), Paperback, 288pp / ISBN 0451216792
Read: February 19, 2010
Summary from Amazon:
Mystery shopper Josie Marcus’s report about Danessa Celedine’s exclusive store is less than stellar, and it may cost the fashion diva fifty million dollars. But Danessa’s financial future becomes moot when she’s found murdered, strangled with one of her own thousand-dollar snakeskin belts-and Josie is accused of the crime.
This is a tricky review to write. On the one hand, I really liked the majority of this book. On the other hand, it’s kind of boring.
What I liked was: Josie’s weird job (mystery shopper? interesting!), the tense how-will-she-prove-herself-innocent setup, the beginning of the mystery. Also, the tone of the book was really fun, so even though I was on my edge of my seat waiting to see what’d happen, I wasn’t so nervous I had to stop reading lest I give myself an aneurysm. The balance between relaxed and OMG WHAT NEXT was excellently written.
What I didn’t like: Josie’s mom (who is the worst mother character I have ever seen in a cozy), the solution of the mystery (wtf?), the idea that anyone could actually live as a mystery shopper with a kid to support (don’t think so).
The whole plot of “must solve mystery so I don’t go to jail for a crime I didn’t commit” is somewhat overdone in cozies, but it was actually really handled well, here. I actually did believe that Josie could go to jail! I was nervous for her, and I wanted her to get solving that mystery ASAP so I could stop worrying about her future. Josie herself is a very likable character, so that helped things. And there’s some very interesting tidbits about rich women trapped in loveless marriages and unable to leave, etc etc. That had some depth.
But the mystery? Oh, the mystery.
It started off so good! What happened at the end, there? The solution? The murderer? Blah. Boring.
Nevertheless, it’s a promising series and if I can get over how irritating Josie’s mother is I’ll definitely keep on reading it. I just hope the mystery is a little bit better put together.