Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just Desserts by Mary Daheim

Judith McMonigle owns and runs a bed-and-breakfast. But why does she decide to have a dinner for her ungracious last minute guests, the Brodies? Money, of course and it's going to cost her. The Brodies want to have an experience and so Oriana (the wife) hires a fortune teller who keels over and is pronounced dead. Right away, one of the paramedics suspect poisoning and calls in the police. Enter Joe Flynn, Judith's ex-fiance, to work on the case with Officer Price. But with this case, Judith's world is turned upside down and her weekend is ruined, until she shifts the plethora of information, revealing Wanda's killer.

I plead that I was in a delirium when I started this book (last for the Mystery Read-a-Thon when I was a little out of it), then I got very sick with a sinus infection, so by the time I realized my mistake, it was too late (and the book isn't very long) and so I figured I'd finish it on principle. Not an easy task. I guess too many suspects spoil the mystery. I think there were way too many people in this story doing too many things and it just clouded the mystery, especially when multiple characters had about multiple names (one had about four) and no one was who she or he appeared to be. I don't know if this was done to be witty/funny/cute/add to the mystery, but I found it annoying, confusing and forgettable. The crotchety mom Gertrud was more annoying than endearing, the love interest fell flat, and Judith's attitude didn't help me get through this book. I'm not sure paramedics are the one to call a homicide. They're there to help the person in need, not sit back and say "Hmm, something funny's going on, better call the cops." Not only that, Judith's faith and lack of conflict with the cops and is completely unrealistic, as are the cops' actions. The police decide to keep the family there until things are wrapped up. Huh? I've heard of don't leave town, but the police can't hold a person indefinitely. Also, Judith complains the murderer hasn't been caught and the police seemed to be dragging their heels. Note, they haven't left the house and are getting test results in record time, but she's peeved because they haven't solved it in under twenty-four hours. Huh? I'm invoking the "avoid" tag on this book and series.

6 comments:

Amanda said...

Aw, that's really too bad! I read that plot description and thought this was one of those mysteries I might actually enjoy. Then I read the rest of the review. Too bad it's not pulled off well. :(

hamilcar barca said...

any fortune-teller who doesn't see her own death-by-poisoning coming, has no future in the field.

Amanda said...

hahahahaha!! :D

Christina said...

Amanda,

I know, very disappointing. I think it was just too over the top and a lot of the scenes were just unbelievable. If the sentences hadn't been grammatically correct, it would be very close to someone else's writing style we know.

Terry,

Guess that's the way to prove she's a fraud. Reminds me of the scene in Ocean's Twelve where the guy's getting his fortune told, these bad guys walk in and the guy turns to the fortune teller and says "This? You couldn't see this?"

Amanda said...

Woah, the mention of that other certain person's writing gives that avoid tag a higher recommendation here...

hamilcar barca said...

just for the record, a fortune-teller can do a reading on himself, and if his demise is imminent, that will show up in the reading. repeatedly.

alas, the particulars ("your cousin will put poison in the tea") are usually lacking. so you end up stressed out to the max, and waiting for some unknown calamity to occur, like a piano falling on you.