Clare Henry lives in Star City and works at a typewriter repair shop called The Rescued Word. She also repairs books and sells stationery (pens, animal note cards separated by region , yellow No.2 pencils and some fancy paper that can be personalized by Clare’s niece, Marion). An old family friend/regular customer, Mirabelle asks Clare to repair an old typewriter, but before Clare can fix it, some random guy comes in and demands the typewriter. Clare says no, calls the cops and random guy splits. The next day, random guy is found dead behind The Rescued Word.
Sounds like a typical cozy mystery, right? Wrong! This is a meandering story that cares little about the actual mystery or murder at the beginning of the book. That random guy who bites it? You won’t find out who he is, why he was actually at the shop or who killed him until the last chapter or two of the book. Instead of the corpse, the author would like you to focus on other things, such as:
- Marion, Clare’s niece, is a super hot teenage girl. This will be pointed out to you multiple times.
- There was this Russian guy who taught dancing to kids. The guy is dead before the story begins and has nothing to do with the story. He just had his studio at a nearby building.
- There’s a polygamous compound in the next town. The author describes the outside of the compound and how a party girl cheerleader named Liana that Clare went to school with joined the compound after high school. This also has nothing to do with the story. You will not meet the former cheerleader.
- There’s a monastery near the polygamous compound. The outside of the monastery is also greatly described and you’re informed that they make a great wine called Purple. No one visits the monastery nor drinks the wine, but I guess you needed to know about it.
- Clare has some guests over for dinner. She didn’t make dinner, but picked it up on the way home. Thus, you need to know that there’s this Italian guy named Tony who owns the best Italian restaurant in town. You will be told what Tony looks like and where the town in Italy he is from looks like even though you will never be introduced to Tony.
- You will be told quite a bit about the book Tarzan and the author of the book, Edgar Rice Burroughs. This information actually does have something to do with the story, but not enough for the amount of space dedicated to it.
- Star City is known for its snow. Everyone loves the snow. People move there just for the snow. Clare’s grandpa is an expert skier and her niece should probably try out for the Winter Olympics. This story does not take place during the winter. There’s no snow.
I generally like cozy mysteries. I enjoy reading about the town and people that a main character interacts with, but in this book I’m being told about tons of people, places and things that don’t have much or anything to do with the story. It’s as if the author was constantly being distracted by stories she wanted to write and had to be reminded about the story she was actually writing about. So, she finally got back to the mystery part in the last couple of chapters, but by then I didn’t care who did it. I don’t think I’ll be reading any future books in this series.