Have been trying to get my hands on this one for a while, ever since reading Amita Murray’s piece on the need for sex in cozy mysteries (I completely agree!). While I enjoyed the book itself, I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. This is one that barely clears the 4-star threshold.
I appreciate what Amita Murray is trying to do: give a refreshing, sexy take on cozy mysteries with a lead that’s younger and more misanthropic than your average blue haired Miss Marple. I even enjoyed and laughed at large swaths of it. But I also think this book is being mis-marketed. Yes there are some charming moments in Arya’s adventures. But she’s a hurt, traumatized person who is living out her pain in trying to solve this murder. So at a certain point, when she is interacting with characters, it feels less like a mystery novel and more like a tale of self exploration. By the end, I was just hoping the poor woman would get some therapy and love.
I think the evolution of Arya’s character is handled well but otherwise, most of the book is a muddled mess. Characters appear just to give Arya clues, scenes are kind of strung along feeling like they’re stitched together. I really didn’t care about the murderer so much as I did Arya’s well being. Which is a problem with a whodunnit.
I’ll give it four for cleverness, characterization and subversion of the cozy genre. But I’m a lot less excited for the rest of the series than I was when I started it.