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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.

Murder in the Bookshop

Murder in the Bookshop - Carolyn Wells

A re-issued 'classic' that I really, truly wanted to love, but am rating 3 stars only because I feel like I have to give it the benefit of the doubt.  The writing might have been farcical; it might have meant to be satiric.

 

If it was either of those things, I didn't get it.  Instead the writing came across as profoundly amateurish and at times, dare I say it, twee.

 

I've been sitting on writing this review for weeks, and of course I've forgotten a lot of relevant bits, but amongst the things I can remember:

 

The scene of the crime is an antiquarian bookshop, which the deceased and his librarian have just broken into.  When the owner of the shop appears to find the man dead, the librarian standing over the body, he assures the police that 1.) no way the librarian did it, and they should just skip investigating him, and 2.) yes, they broke into his shop, but he was sure they had a very good reason.

 

If this had been written by a man, we'd have called him a misogynist.  There's a lot of something akin to mansplaining going on here, where the deceased's wife should be a suspect but really isn't - or, at least, the PI investigating the case can't bring himself to suspect her, because she's so wonderful, and fragile, and beautiful.  Nothing in the text would give testament to the former two, and the latter - who knows?  

 

The 'mastermind' was a joke.  Think villain from Scooby Doo kind of joke.  And don't even start me on the finale.  If not for those meddling kids...

 

Everything, in fact, was so blown out of proportion that I have to believe I've missed something; some tone, rhythm, inside information contained in the writing.  Otherwise there's no way this is something that qualifies to be re-issued.

 

Other evidence that I'm missing something here:  there's a short story at the end about a mystery concerning a first edition Shakespeare that is good.  Clever, if simple, and much more competently written; the only female character is the mind behind the solution too.

 

So in short, I don't know what the hell I read; tread at your own risk.