Category Archives: Cozy Mystery

W…T…F….

Quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

She had always found the elder Mr. Stone intimidating. She would never forget the first time she had met him. She had been terribly nervous and as Bill’s fiancee had wanted to make a good impression. She hadn’t known what to say when Mr. Stone suggested that she escort Brother, Mrs. Stone’s retarded brother, to the bathroom. She could still remember the blood rushing to her face as she stammered out an excuse, and Bill had rushed to her rescue, leading Brother out of the room. That meant she was left alone with Mr. Stone, who’d muttered something and left the room, too.

So, I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out what year this is set in. I think it was published in 2008, but all the direct references to a point in time are of the 70s and since her oldest child is 10, this would make it the mid 80s at the very latest, which doesn’t quite mesh with her and the rest of the girls using personal computers to take orders. It’s possible, but for some reason it’s just not jiving for me.

But, in any case, I can see where her father-in-law could be this flavor of ass in any time frame.

The problem, again, is that Lucy never turns to face the camera and explain that she does not condone her F-I-L’s behavior.

Lucy is supposed to be some idealistic hippy who eats tofu and brown rice so much that McDonald’s turns her kids into hellions. But she’s easily intimidated by strong men and won’t even stand up for her values  quietly to herself. I can get over the fact that she doesn’t make a stand for justice out loud, but this is a novel where we can read her thoughts and her thoughts are embarrassed, but not indignant.

That’s a big problem.

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How to tell that a person should not own a gun:

I thought of you when I read this quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

“Is that a real gun?” asked one of the boys.
“It sure is. It’s a police-issue nine-millimeter Smith and Wesson,” he answered, drawing the revolver from its holster. Lucy eyed the gun distrustfully. “Don’t worry, Lucy. I made sure the safety’s on.”

 Culpepper held the gun out in the flat of his hand for the boys to admire, then twirled it around his finger a few times before replacing it at his side.”

This is police officer Culpepper shortly after bitching that State Police won’t involve the local clips imn the investigation.

I’m not going to lie. One of the quickest ways to make me dislike an author is when they create incompetent cops. I read to escape real life and in a perfect world, the cops are damn good at their jobs and aren’t arrogant morons who think a badges and a gun makes them powerful.

Culpepper was okay until he decided to become John Wayne and show off. 

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Trump Supporter

Quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

“This evil person” —and here the minister paused before hissing—“this sinner, must have come from outside our town. 

“Every night the evening news tells us of the violence that pervades the cities of our country, of international syndicates dealing in drugs and death, and of political terrorism. 

“This is the lesson of Sam Miller’s death. We must fight the evil that is overtaking so much of the world, and we must keep our town as a good place to let our love for each other shine as a beacon of light in an ever-darkening world. Amen.”

This was the end of the Eulogy given by the pastor.

The brother looked disgusted. The wife was wearing a veil so we couldn’t see her face.

Lucy pretty much shrugged and said “could be” after bringing up the idea that the brother is the killer and having it be shot down because he’s a good guy. And making fun of the wife’s preference for less than sensible shoes and clothes. 

By the way, I’d totally wear a veil! I wouldn’t want people looking at me.

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Character Introductions

Quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

“Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove.”

I’m not very far into this new-to-me cozy mystery series. Most of the main characters are still being introduced, and since the murder has already taken place, of course, other characters are speculating on the obvious suspects: the wife and the brother.

I personally judge characters based on how they talk about other people, especially people they don’t like. It’s how I judge people in real life, too. It said a lot to me that my husband has always been factual, but never catty, about his ex-wives. 

So far, Lucy and her friends come across as bitchy gossips. 

I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt about the wife when they described her as a pretentious snob for rejecting an invitation to the Friends of the Library because I’m an introvert and these women are obviously extroverts who don’t believe introverts are a thing. Not being social is a sin in their book. I figured that with a bit of time and real exposure to the wife, they’d revise their opinion of her. This was merely the author giving her characters room to grow as people. That’s okay!

Then we get introduced to the brother and how he doesn’t live up to his brother’s “golden boy” status. He’s not a show off, he’s a “mama’s boy”, he goes to theater productions, he collects stamps, he’s not Ken Doll handsome, and, gasp! He might be gay because he doesn’t have a public girlfriend.

Which leads me back to the quote I shared above: 

“Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove.”

Now, again, this could be the author’s way of giving her characters room to grow. It could be a red herring meant to subtlety call out any homophobic readers who hvw decided that the brother is guilty because he checks all the boxes on the “what a murderer looks like” list according to small town, USA.

McCarthyism at it’s finest.

But this doesn’t sit right with me.

I’m all in favor of subtle snubs at the homophobic and racist status quo. But, while most people who call out their hometown for being homophobic or racist will say soomething as blatant as “Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove”, they will usually emphasize it by making it it’s own paragraph, the literary equivalent of standing in the center of main street to voice it. Then they will immediately make some kind of statement that definitively shows that they are against homophobia. Period.

Instead, this sentence sits at then end of a paragraph that lists all of the brother’s “faults”. Being gay is just another one. He’s the jealous brother because he’s ugly and not a real man because he likes theater, stamps, and potentially other men as sexual partners. He’s the murderer because he’s different. 

Then she changes the subject.

Like I said, Lucy is a bitch. She fits every stereotype of small town, small mind that I can think of. I’ll give this book it’s fair share and finish it, but a lot of crow will need to be eaten for me to read the next one.

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Amish guy speaking:

 “Murder, Plainly Read: An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery” by Isabella Alan –

““Everyone in my old district disliked the old bishop in some way or another. He was a hard man. To him, life was meant to be about work and suffering. There was no joy in his heart. He believed the more you worked and the more miserable you were, the closer you were to Gott. It was something I could never believe. If Gott loves us so much, how could he want us to suffer?”

 I blew on a spoonful of stew. “Even still, it must have been hard to leave.” 

He was quiet for a moment. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” He smiled at his wife. “But I have never regretted my decision. I know this is the path that Gott wanted for me.””

Yes, this is fiction, but the idea is true for most conservative religions: one person trying to pick the path of another by proclaiming that “it’s what God wants”. A prominent example that routinely pisses me off is the idea that women belong in the home while men are the sole income earner. The abuse that tends to come out of this “ideal” is appalling.

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Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

“If every young vandal was forced to do his rounds without pants on, the world would be a safer place.” –Fletcher Moon

I picked this book up because I’ve adored the Artemis Fowl series as well as Airman. Again we have an intrepid youth who takes matters into his own hands when the parental units aren’t willing to bend a few rules in order to find out the truth.

Fletcher “Half-Moon” Moon is a 12 year old (or so) detective with the badge to prove it. While trying to solve one mystery he finds himself in the middle of a much bigger case.

What I liked most about this book is that it really makes you think about judging people guilty before all the facts are gathered. Sometimes the guilty party is the person you’d least expect and sometimes the person who is easiest to blame is completely innocent. It’s a lesson everyone needs to take to heart.

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Getting Old is Criminal (Gladdy Gold #3)

More than just a murder mystery, Getting Old is Criminal deals with many of the realities of getting old. I laughed, I (almost) cried, and if I hadn’t already been a fan of this series, I would have become one. These books just keep getting better!

From the back of the book: “Gladdy Gold had reached a golden moment. There she was, soaking in a hot tub with a man she adored, far from Fort Lauderdale and her nosy neighbors…until an urgent message sent her running home. Now her exotic vacation is a memory, Gladdy’s would-be beau, Jack, is furious, and not only are the girls of the Gladdy Gold Detective Agency all alive and well—they’re onto a hot new murder case.

Is a retirement-home Romeo to blame for the mysterious deaths in Florida’s most luxurious communities? Gladdy and her curious kibitzers will have to go undercover to find out—covering themselves with as many fancy-schmancy airs as possible. But with Gladdy’s drama queen sister Evvie playing the role of a Palm Beach flirt, their fun and games turn deadly. For by the time the girls ID their perp, Evvie is in the arms of a killer—and loving it.…”

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