by Kathleen M. Cosgrove
The first in a series, "Engulfed" introduces the reader to Maggie Finn, a rather chaotic, clumsy woman of middle age whose actual work for a paper leaves her with enough time and energy on her hands to investigate crimes and mysteries.
In this book, Maggie's parents have decided to move to a retirement place where the residents can spend their days playing golf and sipping cocktails under the Florida sun.
Maggie moves to the now almost empty house of her parents for a week or so to make sure everything goes according to plan before they go straight to their new place after a holiday.
Strange things happen - upon her arrival at the retirement place, body parts are found; Maggie is drugged via laced sweets smuggled into her handbag; an elderly lady goes missing, and a man who has been following Maggie around turns up dead.
At first glance, none of these events seem to be linked, but of course Maggie finds out that they all are - in what seems a rather far-fetched manner (but everything is explained at the end of the book, just how I like it with mysteries).
The cast include an ex-police officer turned hippie, a senator secretly performing at a drag club, an assortment of more or less interesting residents at the retirement place, a detective whose mixed Latin/Jewish ancestry is an endless source of "witty" remarks for the author, and of course Maggie herself.
Although I did enjoy the book on several train rides and while having my colour done at the hairdresser's, I don't think I will go looking for the next one in this series, not even if - like this one - it will be a free find at the kindle shop.
The clumsiness and talent of the heroine to harm herself (and a few others along the way) is just too over the top for me, and meant to be funny (which it is only sometimes). The detective uttering "meshugga" every other sentence is just too stereotype (I don't know anyone Jewish but I doubt they throw yiddish terms into their conversation all the time). The unraveling of the mystery is done well enough, and I liked some of the characters; it is just not really my cup of tea altogether. (And editing could have been better, although I have seen much, much worse.)
I'd say it is an undemanding holiday read, if you like this sort of book.
If you are interested, Amazon has some information about the author here.
It's a genre which seems to be rather over-endowed with books at the moment. I enjoyed a few of the Agatha Raisin books but when I saw the first one on television I thought it was nowhere near what I had imagined. I've neither watched nor read another one.ReplyDelete
At times, Agatha Raisin bumbles through her cases, too, and I have not enjoyed all the books on the same level; with one of the last ones, I was actually disappointed. But overall, the series is wittier and cleverer than many of a similar layout. The TV adaption is indeed completely different from the books. I watch them as something apart, not based on the books, and find them quite amusing.Delete
I only watched the first one. Perhaps I should go back and persevere. I do like light entertainment when I'm not in the mood for anything serious.Delete
Gosh, even your description left me breathless already. Too much happening, too many weird character, to many clues, not my idea of a cosy mystery.ReplyDelete
Not cosy at all, Friko. I've left out all the driving around and weird meals (in her car or elsewhere) the heroine has.Delete
Damming with faint praise, if even that! I am sure I will skip this book.ReplyDelete
It won't be a terrible loss if you do, Kristi!Delete
It certainly sounds like it has an interesting cast of characters. Some books are "close" to being good but just don't quite make it and this sounds like that. I do like a book to be at least a bit believable, even in a fiction. Thanks for your great review!ReplyDelete
I wanted to also thank you for all your very sweet and supportive comments on my blog the past few days. They, and you are really appreciated!
Dear Bonnie, you are very welcome.Delete
Yes, that sums it up quite nicely - it could have been a good book (and, as I said, it kept me entertained over a few train journeys) but didn't quite make it.