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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.

The Sayers Swindle (A Book Collector Mystery, No. 2)

The Sayers Swindle - Victoria Abbott

A disappointing follow up to a first that, while it wasn't excellent, showed a lot of promise.


Let me start by saying Ms. Abbott has the right ingredients for a great cozy series: Jordan is hired to hunt down rare and collectible books for a very wealthy recluse.  I want her job - I mean, how much fun would that be?!?  Getting paid to search out books to buy...heaven.  


She's from a 'colourful' family with a flexible relationship with the law and she's determined to be the first in the family to go straight.  Hailey Lind did an excellent job with this in her Art Lovers Series, but Ms. Abbott's attempt falls flat with me.  Jordan's uncles sort of come across as an older, more Irish Jay and Silent Bob, only not funny.  The introduction in this book of a third uncle, Kevin, doesn't work either; he comes across as a middle aged, manic, ADHD teenager for most of the book and the role he's meant to play is as clear as mud.


I *think* Jordan is supposed to have two men vying for her affections.  The first, a cop, Tyler Dekker, felt stalker-ish in the first book and he's not much better in this one, although he doesn't play a huge part for most of the story.  And yes, I'm about to show my extreme shallowness when it comes to the men on the pages of my books:  he's described as "slightly pudgy but adorable".  NOT the kind of description to up my pulse rate.  In real life, men (and women) should be judged on their merits, but on the pages of my books, I'd prefer an absence of "pudgy" in my romantic heroes.  Sue me.  In addition, Tyler has no concept of playing hard to get - I'm not suggesting he should toy with Jordan, but there's a complete lack of subtlety in his pursuit.


The second man is Lance who's described as one of her best friends.  Either he flirts to the point of harassment or Jordan is a congenital idiot.  Again, there is absolutely no subtlety here and Jordan acting ignorant just comes across as ludicrous.  Either she needs to accept and return his affections or call him out on his overly flirtatious behaviour.  


Jordan is trying to recover a complete set of Lord Peter Whimsey books, and l'm going to go out on a limb here and say Victoria Abbott LOVES Lord Peter Whimsey.  Who doesn't?, you may be saying, and I agree.  But she LOVES LOVES LOVES LPW and she waxes rhapsodic a bit too much throughout the book, summarising the plot of each full length LPW mystery and writing dream sequences and fantasies involving Jordan, Lord Peter and/or Harriet Vane.  Cozy-mystery-calibre fantasies but still weird because they were used too much and too often.


The plot.  Sigh.  It's an out-there one, for a cozy, and it could have been done better.  I applaud the author's sense of adventure and I think the plot could have been an inspiration, if it had been treated better.  But the whole thing felt clunky, un-graceful.  It lacked flow.

Candy-the-fake cop was screamingly obvious to me as soon as she showed up and caught Jordan at the empty house.  After that, the plot pretty much fell apart for me.  Also, the whole thing with the neighbour Harry's disappearance - it felt like the author intended to go in one direction early on, then couldn't make it work, so just made up a lame explanation at the very end in order to tidy things up.

(show spoiler)


Overall, I was really bummed that I didn't like this book more.  I *want* to like this book and this series.  But the writing and plotting needs to be tighter and I'm not sure I'll continue to a third book.