Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lighthearted Murder Mystery

Reviewed by Phee Paradise
The Case of the Mystified M.D.
By A. K. Arenz

I have to admit The Case of the Mystified M.D. didn’t grab my attention at first. The cover looks like it should be on a children’s book and although the main character is a 50 something woman, her voice and actions are somewhat childish. The book introduces too many characters at once, and I had a hard time keeping them straight. But as I read more, I began to enjoy the lighthearted story and Glory Harper began to sound childlike, rather than childish.

Glory narrates the world as she sees it, giving people nicknames that characterize their role in her life. She is honest about her own faults, but is quick to see the foibles of her friends and neighbors. She stubbornly tries to discover which of them has murdered the one man in town nobody liked. Even “Blue Eyes,” the police detective she is crazy about, can’t stop her obsession with the murder. She uncovers some strange events, and even stranger secrets some of her friends are hiding.

The story moves quickly. Within a few days, Glory discovers the victim’s hand, encounters multiple suspects and gets herself into quite a bit of trouble. As it unfolded, I had so much fun following the crazy events, that I forgot there was a murder to solve. Even though some unpleasant things happened, the story was delightful and the voice turned out to be appropriate after all.

This amusing book reads like adolescent lit for grownups. Read it when you’re in the mood for something light.

Pros: Playful mystery full of odd characters and unexpected situations.

Cons: It’s sometimes hard to believe the characters’ actions. Their motivations aren’t always sufficiently clear.

About the book:
When Glory’s puppy finds a severed hand on a walking trail, she’s positive she recognizes the signet ring as belonging to a missing college professor who’s been causing trouble around town. Her insatiable desire to solve the mystery of his murder finds her in over her head with a community filled with secrets, blackmail, and arson.

With her sister Jane overwhelmed by the arson fire of her home and trouble with her finance, Glory latches onto an unlikely partner, and soon, feels as though she’s stepped into a whacked out version of the Twilight Zone – where nothing is as it appears, and danger lurks around every corner…

Including from her boyfriend Detective Rick Spencer.

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