A funny, wry, sarcastic mystery novel (series, I guess, but I don’t think I will continue) about a 28 year detective trying to leave her family business (detectiving) only to be reminded that she’s never had any other job and has a recommendation letter held over her head by her mother. In the midst of all this she has a younger sister going through a personal crisis, an uncle who is going through a dying crisis, and a new boyfriend (soon to be ex boyfriend number eight, we find out) who she met while surveilling for a case (not him, but a friend of his). When she encounters him and realizes she might want to date him, she lies to him and says she’s a teacher. You seen where this is going.
There’s a relatively strong voice in this novel, and that works for it. It also works against it, and I will explain about that in a little bit. The ways it works for it: the voice is funny and the book is charming. The family is farcical, as is that cover, and so an ironic voice to helps to balance that. It works against it because it’s a kind of caught between voice….somewhere between Veronica Mars, in terms of sarcasm, and Claire Dewitt, in terms of darkness. But it’s not sarcastic enough or dark to find the right balance to nail it. So the leftover version is a perfectly okay detective story, with a compelling but overly familiar lead voice.