Today’s selection is a cautionary tale for writers and readers alike. A quasi-plausible conclusion to a mystery is not necessarily enough to save a book with weak characters. Readers will tolerate a lot when they are reading about characters that they like, but if the characters don’t hook a reader, well, it doesn’t bode well for the series’ future.
Reservations for Murder by Tim Myers. I wanted to like this book. I really did. It seemed like a cute, cozy premise for a nice, traditional cozy-style mystery. Myers protagonist, Alex Winston, runs a bed-and-breakfast place in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As far as I can tell from the story, he has two outstanding traits: 1) he works very hard to keep his inn going, 2) he’s dated just about every woman in town. In Reservations for Murder, a murder is committed at a craft fair and the sheriff cannot be trusted to follow the evidence to find the killer—clearly he needs the help of a local innkeeper to get the job done. When I finished this book I just felt kind of cold about it because the characters were just kind of rough sketches rather than people you hated or liked. And the setting, this small town that has such a pull on our sleuth that he stays there, merits almost no description from Myers. So at the end of the book, the protagonist caught a killer who honestly didn’t seem capable of killing a guy in the way she did, in a supposedly lovely town that is barely described. I just don’t see myself reading anymore books in this series.
*My next post will be the last one in this series, Murder in the Place of Anubis by Lynda S. Robinson.