Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Firsts in Cozy Series

Hounding the Pavement (A Dog Walker Mystery) – Judi McCoy
The Missing Ink (A Tattoo Shop Mystery) – Karen E. Olson
One Bad Apple (An Orchard Mystery) – Sheila Connolly

The cozy mystery genre is getting a little crowded. I could probably spend the next three months reading nothing but the first numbers of different series. I suppose the measure of success might be whether you go for the second in the series or not. After all, (most) cozy mysteries do not set out to shake the foundations of your world or otherwise offend you. They tread a difficult line between quirky and comforting, each with its own little recipe that might work for some and not others.

While each and every one of these was an enjoyable read, I’d still have to say I’d rather take on a different series rather than proceed to number two. Maybe I’m getting a little bit jaded but none of these came close to the “Mantra for Murder Mysteries” or even “Knitting Mysteries”.

Sheila Connolly’s book though, does have a slightly more “grown-up” tone about it. Lots of serious information about home renovation and a nice “Gilmore Girls” New England feel about it. Still, for some reason I failed to connect with the protagonist Meg Corey. Actually, I think I know why: her ex-boyfriend (who is the murder victim) is such an obvious Wall Street wannabee, such an absolute greedy, arrogant, awful person I had to have my doubts about Meg. Who would date such a creep, let alone keep seeing him for six months?!

Brett Kavanaugh is a pretty unlikely name, one I kept forgetting throughout “The Missing Ink”. Brett is a New Jersey girl who relocated to Las Vegas where tattooing is a more profitable business. Karen E. Olson gives the reader a lot of information on the art of putting needle to skin, but again I was lost as our one-of-a kind protagonist (who has some Monet on her arm, ‘cause she went to art school and is not just some tattoo bimbo) fell for a Vegas hotel manager complete with tie and British accent…oy. I kept getting the names of the missing girls confused, too which didn’t help. Overall a very enjoyable pool-side read, but again, don’t count me as a fan for the rest of the series.

Ellie Engleman’s Dog Walker Mystery was also a nice read. It gets funny at times since the author, Judi McCoy, is not afraid to get a little, shall we say, explicit, in the sex scenes which gave the book a Harlequin-esque tone at times. The psychic connection with dogs doesn’t read as ridiculous as I first thought (oh right, I forgot to say, Ellie can communicate with pooches), since the author doesn’t overuse the gimmick, but still…it’s the fact that the dogs talk back that gets a little bit strange…I mean here is a recent divorcee who talks to her itty-bitty dog and walks other people’s itty-bitty dogs (Ellie has a no big dogs policy)…plus she can walk four dogs and eat an ice-cream at the same time, and I know for a fact that is impossible to accomplish.

As for the mysteries themselves “Hounding the Pavement” had the most easy to guess solution, followed by “One Bad Apple”. As for the “The Missing Ink” the whole thing was so convoluted I can’t even remember the ending clearly, anymore. Whether that’s good or bad…

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