Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Review: Gone Away by Hazel Holt

Gone AwayGone Away by Hazel Holt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first in the Mrs. Mallory mystery series.  It was originally titled Mrs. Mallory Investigates.  Overall, this was a good mystery, though I hated the ending.  It was beyond sad and a little depressing, at least to me.  This is the first time I’ve read a cozy mystery where I actually wanted the killer to be someone else.

Having said that, the reason for the murder also didn’t really make sense.  To me, it kind of came out of nowhere.  And, it didn’t really ring as a motive for murder to me.  I might have been okay with the killer if the reason had been a little different, which was what was hinted at until the “reveal.”

I did like Sheila Mallory.  I liked that she was a retired academic.  I liked her pets.  She seemed to have a nice little life going and didn’t really investigate.  She came across information just interacting with people.  Which she didn’t share with the police because she didn’t think it was her place to.  I’m still not sure what I think of that.

While I enjoyed the mystery and liked Mrs. Mallory, I didn’t really feel like I got to know any of the characters or the community.  I did sort of figure out the killer, but not for the reason that I thought (as mentioned earlier, the true reason came out of the blue).  Even though it was a good read, I don’t think I’ll be reading more in this series.

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Book Review: I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

I Still Dream About YouI Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started out not really liking this book, especially Maggie.  The story isn’t what I thought it would be based on the description.  The main character, Maggie Fortenberry, a former Miss Alabama, is feeling like it’s time “to leave” and sets about planning her suicide.  I couldn’t figure out what was so horribly wrong with her life that she felt the need to do this, other than a mega case of the self pities.

The story alternates between the various characters, past and present.  In the beginning, this was a bit disconcerting as the story felt incredibly disjointed.  However, about 150 pages in, I started to get the flow and with Maggie’s listing of a house she adored and the “mystery” of the previous owner (remains were found in a trunk in a sealed room in the attic), the story picked up.  Picked up enough, that I can say in the end, I enjoyed the book and am glad I muddled through those first 150 pages.

This book isn’t just about Maggie.  It’s also about Hazel, Brenda, Ethel, and Edward Crocker.  The mystery part was about what happened to Edward Crocker, the builder of Crestview, a house that Maggie just loved and got the listing for when it was put up for sale.  It’s also about Babs, the arch-rival of everyone (and really, not a very likable person).

I didn’t see any of the endings coming, except perhaps one.  Overall, it’s a good read and one I recommend if you’re looking for something a little different.  Just stick with it through the first 100 or so pages.

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