Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gingerbread Cookie Murder—Review

I've tried the Christmas-themed books I mentioned in a previous post. The first, The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman, I only read the first 44 pages (large print). I just wasn't that interested in it. It made me wonder about the difference between good chicklit and bad chicklit. The Christmas Cookie Club had many of the same elements of the books I enjoy, and yet it fell flat. It seemed to lack a necessary spark. So I stopped reading it.

The second book I read is Gingerbread Cookie Murder. It's a set of three novellas by mystery authors. I did enjoy this volume. It was fun to have something to read over Christmas, of course, and I also liked that it kind of gave an introduction to mystery authors. If you're in the market for a new mystery series to read, you can pick up this set of novellas and get a taste of various authors.

My favorite novella in the set was "The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies" by Leslie Meier. It was fun and had all the twists and turns I expect in a murder mystery.

"Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots" by Leslie Meier was OK, but it was kind of a downer. My primary goal in reading genre is fun and entertainment; if I'm going to read something depressing I'll read something that tempers the depressing bits with insight or beautiful language.

The novella the compilation is named after is by Joanne Fluke. I recognize this author from work*, and it's her name that's written in giant letters on the cover of the book, and yet I found plenty of flaws in her novella. It's odd, her novella was my second favorite in the trilogy as far as pure entertainment value, and yet I keep finding all these flaws in the writing that irk me. Just for the fun of ranting, I'm now going to list those flaws. If you're interested in reading Joanne Fluke, I would suggested skipping the rest of this post so that you don't start one of her books with my biases floating around your noggin.

The Flaws

1) There are lines in "Gingerbread Cookie Murder" that make the characters seem dumb, and also make it seem the author thinks the reader a bit daft as well. These especially occur in dialogue.

2) The protagonist and the detectives never once contemplate that the murder may have been manslaughter, and due to the facts they worked with for most of the story, the chance that the murderer hit the murderee in a fit of rage rather than with the intention to kill is a possibility they should have at least mentioned.

3) The beginning has a fair amount of back story that should go by faster and I'm not sure is entirely necessary.

4) The love interest is a dentist named Norman who has a cat he calls Cuddles. What the hell? Are we supposed to believe Norman is a sexy interesting romantic character? A man who names his cat Cuddles? Really? Norman? Reaalllly?

Despite my list of flaws, this compilation of Christmas novellas is worth taking a look at. Blogger out.

*I work at a bookstore.

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