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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.

Well Read, Then Dead (A Read 'Em and Eat Mystery #1)

Well Read, Then Dead - Terrie Farley Moran

If you happened across the status updates I wrote for this book, you'll know I got my nose out of joint about a few um... issues.  In the interest of fairness, though, this wan't a bad first book.  It wasn't a great one - but it wasn't by far the worst I've read.


Fort Myers Beach is home to Mary “Sassy” Cabot and Bridget Mayfield—owners of the bookstore café, Read ’Em and Eat.  Sassy’s favorite client is Delia Batson, a regular at the Emily Dickinson table. Augusta’s cousin and best friend Delia is painfully shy—which makes the news of her murder all the more shocking.  No one is more distraught than Augusta, and Sassy wants to help any way she can. But Augusta doesn’t have time for sympathy. She wants Delia’s killer found—and she’s not taking no for an answer.


The author did a good job creating likeable MC's I was interested in reading about, but I found myself more than annoyed at the author's portrayal of a native old-family Floridian, Augusta. This is a character that is supposed to be well-read and well-respected - but has the speech patterns of an illiterate. As a native Floridian myself, I found it offensive. ymmv.


Lieutenant Frank Anthony is introduced as an obvious possible love interest for Sassy, and then proceeds to say the most insensitive, hyperbolic things; at the very least, they'd be unprofessional.  I'm guessing the author is trying to use conflict to increase the romantic tension; if so, perhaps a more subtle approach would be more suitable.  Something more subtle than the baseball bat over the head this possible romance is getting.  Because right now, he's not striking me as being nearly so charming as he is an asshat.


I don't even know what Cady is supposed to be - the male bestie who shyly pines away for Sassy while she trods all over him?  I like him a lot, but the friendship doesn't seem very two-way in this book.


All I will say about the plot is that both the twist and the murderer were obvious by page 110.  I did like the wrecker angle though (treasure hunters).


So I slammed the book a bit didn't I?  But it's not a bad overall read if you can forgive the first book awkwardness. The author writes well, although I found the food and table names too cutesy and she had one massive failure that I remember involving clam chowder tasting like pier planks (it was supposed to be a compliment).  But she does a credible job of taking the reader to Ft. Myers Beach and weaving a story that holds one's attention.  I'm not sure I'd recommend it but I wouldn't try to steer anyone away from it.  I might even buy the next one.