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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

A Wee Dose of Death (ScotShop Mystery #2)

A Wee Dose of Death - Fran Stewart

3 stars even though the author probably deserves a fourth just for writing something outside the cozy box.  While I appreciated what she was doing intellectually, emotionally I was just getting irritated.

 

Being thrust into the modern world hasn’t been easy for Dirk, but Peggy is at her wit’s end trying to keep the ghostie galoot in line...
 
When the local police chief finds the body of Peggy’s friend Karaline’s college professor in a deserted mountain cabin, everyone is thrown for a loop. It seems the secretive professor may have been killed over his ecological work, an idea that’s only reinforced when Karaline herself is shot. 

 

First, Dirk is a stupid nickname; the ghost has something like 6 middle names and his first name is MacBeath; she couldn't choose a less porn-sounding nickname from one them?

 

Second, Peggy, isn't a very nice person.   She seems a bit emotionally stunted, which makes for a realistic protagonist, but not a likeable one.  She admits when she's been impatient or intolerant, but she does it begrudgingly and she acts out like a brat when she's called out on her behaviour.  She's not unlikeable, but it's close.

 

Finally, the ghost.  I like him, but - and this is realistic (assuming a 14th century ghost existed) - he questioned everything.  Which he would, given that our English and his couldn't be much more different without being separate languages, but it gets really annoying after awhile.  Also, he abused wee as an adjective.  He called everything wee, including motor vehicles.

 

The book is told in alternating POV's and the author does it well.  It flowed nicely and I don't normally like POV jumping.  The story was well-plotted although a clue early on gave away the murderer for me, if not the motivation.  It was a subtle clue, I think; readers that aren't a fan of word games might not pick up on it.

 

Overall, it sounds as though I didn't like the book, but I didn't hate it either.  I think the author has a lot of talent, but the balance between realism and like-ability in her main characters was off (and the sheriff just needs to die; near as I can tell, he has no redeeming qualities).  There's a lot more to this cozy than it appears from the title and cover and there's a lot of talking points about this one.  But it's not as good as it could be.  I'm not sure if I'll continue this series or not.