259 Following

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 Fatal Slip (Sweet Nothings, #3)

A Fatal Slip - Meg London

An improvement, but not enough of one to keep the series around.  Into the bag they go.


The premise of the series has (had?) potential as an interesting backdrop:  Aunt and niece re-open the newly renovated Sweet Nothings, a lingerie shop in Paris, Tennessee that features new and vintage lingerie.  Mayhem and dead bodies follow...


The characters were likeable enough:  Emma Taylor, former NYC stylist for fashion shoots returns home to help her Aunt Arabella, sophisticated and world traveled, renovate her old, out-dated lingerie shop;  Brian, older brother to Emma's best friend Liz, is the hardware store owner/renovation contractor-turned-love-interest, as well as a host of other interesting neighbours that make appearances here and there.


But the murderer was screamingly obvious in the first two books; I had them pegged before the first 1/3 of the book, and the overall writing just fell flat for me; while I thought the characters were likeable, I didn't care enough about any of them to overcome the wet-tissue-paper plotting.


So, A Fatal Slip was the make-it-or-break-it book for me, and honestly it was going to need a LOT of juice to make me stick around, and it just didn't.  It was the best book of the three, and the plotting was much better; I didn't know who did it, although I had it whittled down to two (the murderer was one of my two, but not the one I'd chosen).


I'll admit, I suspect the plotting was better executed in this book because not a lot of time was spent on the actual murder mystery; it felt like very little was done or accomplished in the middle third of the book, making it easier for the author to avoid giving away the game.  


There were also holes in the characterisations; Aunt Arabella is supposed to be the main suspect in the murder, but the police never come out and treat her as such; it's the lowest key interrogation I've ever read for someone the police thinks killed a man.  Emma and co. just start investigating, but there's no urgency at all.  Also, the victim is shot, but Arabella doesn't own a gun, yet the police don't even address this.  In fact, the police play almost NO part in the book at all.


Emma's mother, Priscilla, shows up, unannounced on Arabella's doorstep ostensibly because she's worried about Arabella being accused of murder.  Now, she lives in Florida, and there's not a single mention of either Arabella or Emma talking to her  mother about the murder before she shows up.  How did she know there was a murder?  How did she know Arabella was accused?  At the point in the story where she shows up, Arabella's only been interviewed once by the police; no more than anyone else that was at the party. Reading further, we find out there are ulterior motives for Priscilla's visit (which end up being written pretty damn weakly too, but anyway...) but she's just shoe-horned into the story in the weirdest way.


The more I think about it, the more I realise that the reason I don't really care about these characters or this series is that it's all written very superficially;  there's NO drama, there's zero suspense.  Every single hurdle, or obstacle, or worry has a superficial HEA solution.  I read cozies because I don't like melodrama, or angst, or anyone playing badminton with my emotional responses, but I do require some depth in the books I enjoy, and these characters just don't have any depth at all.