Thursday, March 20, 2014

Books, Cooks, and Crooks by Lucy Arlington

I love reading and books so reading a series about a literary agent sounded good and the first book in the Novel Ideal Mystery series, Buried in a Book, was cute and interesting. I liked the protagonist Lila and her bookish sleuthing ways. Plus it was kind of nice to read a light cozy mystery which is never too violent and usually set in a too good to be true (except for the occasional murder) kind of setting. For the first book the quaint little town with its book themed shops and literary names was cute.

Unfortunately the second time around (actually the third time around because the library I got the books from didn’t have the second in the series) the little town and its people just did not work for me. The good characters were too goody goody to the point of being annoying. Even the love mystery, which was supposed to be all cute and was in a way, was way too over the top. Personally I think one or two secret admirer notes would be cute but a half dozen over the course of a few weeks is bordering on creepy.

All of the possible murder suspects, which included a dozen visiting chefs/writers, were all so flawed and painted to look like they were capable of murder. The literary agents were stereotyped to high heaven. The all business all the time boss. The swarmy agent who always talks about himself in third person (would someone like that really have people who want him to represent them). It was all just too much.

And Lila changed. I remember her being a smart intuitive woman in the first book, kept jumping to conclusions except for when it really mattered. I mean early on in the story somebody says something in a kind of emotional way and Lila automatically suspects that person of the murders and continues thinking they’re suspicious for the rest of the book. Then when she finally has a conversation with a person who sounds super shady Lila becomes suspicious for all of two seconds before she changes her mind and invites the person over to her house. That action does not fit in with Lila’s character at all.

Although the book kind of ended in a cliff hanger, not so much the mystery, but the relationship between two characters I really don’t think I’ll be picking up any of the other books in this series because the characters and the setting are all just trying too hard.

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