Jan. 18th, 2017

chez_jae: (Books)
I was able to knock back a short, ebook novella today. It was A Wicked Whack by Constance Barker. This is the prequel to the series I thought I was beginning when I read the first book in the Mad River mystery series. Reading book 1 (before the prequel) meant I already knew who the murderer was in this story, alas.

We have young Shelby Whitaker, who can see and speak to ghosts. Since she lives near an old Civil War battlefield, there are plenty of ghosts around to talk to. Shelby and her sister Harriet live in the old Victorian left to them by their mother. Each of them works in Mad River. The town is preparing for its annual Civil War reenactment. While Shelby is setting up her textiles display, she learns that Jenny, a fellow reenactor, has been murdered. When Jenny herself appears to Shelby, it's up to Shelby to tell Jenny that she's dead. Rather than be devastated, Jenny seems somewhat ho-hum about the situation. She was struck down from behind, so she has no idea who killed her; all Jenny remembers is that she was eating strawberry preserves.

Here's where the story just gets confusing. So, Shelby knows that Jenny was eating strawberry preserves, yet no strawberry preserves were found anywhere near her body. Shelby zeroes in on this as the Big Clue. Find the strawberry preserves, and you'll find the killer, right? While I don't disagree with that assessment, what I can't for the life of me understand is why the murderer would have removed the strawberry preserves from the scene of the crime. It made absolutely no sense. Jenny was killed while she was eating strawberry preserves, not because she was eating them. I mean, if you sneaked up on your enemy while she was eating a cupcake and buried an axe in her head, would you bother to take the cupcake with you? Bizarre.

Spoiler Alert: Shelby helps police officer Nick find the jar of preserves, and testing reveals whose fingerprints are on it, and voila! Mystery solved.

The story itself was light and cozy, but the clues were so ridiculous and unrealistic that it ruined my enjoyment of it.

Favorite line: "I had an axe in the back of my head numbskull. Why was he even bothering with my pulse?"

Blah. Two stars:

**

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chez_jae

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