Lately, nothing book-related worked for me. My friends might’ve noticed the absence of recent reviews. Most books I read were mediocre and not worthy of reviews, or re-reads not of the sterling quality either. Sadly, this one was no exception.
It’s a new author for me though, so I stuck with the novel to the end. This author is well-known. The blurb mentions her accomplishments and calls her the “new Queen of Crime”, and the number of mysteries she has written, all published by a big house, one of the top guns, is well over 20. Maybe that’s the reason for the low quality of this book: the number is too high. Anyway, there is nothing “queenly” about it.
The plot is sad and boring, a flat peasant of mystery plots. The language is primitive, as if written for the ESL students, and the descriptions dull and utilitarian. The mystery itself is not absorbing or even remotely original, and the motivations of most of the suspects unclear.
The heroine detective – a frumpy and grumpy 50-ish woman – could’ve been much more interesting. There is a hint of depth there, a kernel of a much more interesting personality, but it was never developed in this book. And the other characters are not even cartoonish. They are just one-color-drawings on paper.
The writer, despite her royal moniker, seems amateurish, or maybe just tired of writing good stories. Nothing in this book inspired my interest, but one serious editorial blunder sparked indignation. On page 23, one of the characters, Annabelle, is thirty-seven. On page 54, the same Annabelle is described as being in her late forties. Maybe this book didn’t have an editor.
The only reason I finished it was because it has Christmas in its title. I wanted a Christmas book for my Bingo read, so I asked a librarian, and she recommended it to me. One redeeming quality of this book – it adds to my Bingo. It doesn’t even have Christmas spirit, just one tedious Christmas dinner.
Not recommended to anyone.