Cozy Mystery Review: “All The Pretty Hearses” By Mary Daheim
Mary Daheim, a Seattle native, is the popular author of cozy mysteries who is well-known for her Alpine mystery series and Bed and Breakfast mysteries. Daheim’s latest Bed and Breakfast novel, All the Pretty Hearses, released in paperback on May 29, 2012, is one of her more notable works.
A Brief Summary:
There’s no “fun” in “fund-raiser” for Judith McMonigle Flynn when she donates an overnight stay at Hillside Manor for the parish school’s annual auction and the winning bid goes to the persnickety Paine family. Then her husband Joe’s latest surveillance job ends abruptly when an insurance fraud suspect is blown away. Unfortunately the gun belongs to Joe, who finds himself in a jail cell while Judith tries to find what’s left of her mind—and the real killer.
But Joe’s dilemma and the unbearable Paines aren’t Judith’s only problems. Her cantankerous mother, Gertrude, has agreed to let a wealthy parishioner stable a horse in her tool-shed apartment; Cousin Renie is trying to force-feed her loathsome Shrimp Dump recipe to the parish cookbook fund-raising committee; and neighbor Arlene Rankers wants to know why some parish school kids, including her grandson, are sick after the weekly hamburger lunch. What else could possibly go wrong? On the other hand, at Hillside Manor, what can possibly go right?
This was the first book we read from this series and our impression is that this novel is written for the loyal fans of the series. It seemed to us that the author assumes all readers are familiar with the characters and anything that has happened previously in a series. Therefore at times we felt a bit ill-informed in terms of the character backgrounds and their relationships to each other.
The characters in this book didn’t seem real but we appreciate the fact that this might be the style in which the author has adopted. There were many references to the events in Judith’s other mysteries and that also got us lost a bit.
Overall, we believe if a reader likes books by Carolyn Hart and Joanne Fluke, this will be an enjoyable read. We also advise you not to start with this book if you are new to the series (after all it was not too smart to start with the 26th book in the series).
Our Rating: 3.0
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