Maid of Murder
Review: College reference librarian and six-time bridesmaid India Hayes turns amateur sleuth to clear her brother, who's been accused of murder, in Maid of Murder, a chick lit-ish whodunit-style mystery, the first in a new series by Amanda Flower.
India's brother Mark, her senior by two years, had a high school crush on Olivia Blocken … and years later still isn't over her. India doesn't have the heart to tell him that Olivia's getting married, and worse, she's in the wedding party. Not that she's all that happy about it: "I smiled politely ..., flabbergasted that Olivia had the audacity to number her bridesmaids, and that I was number three out of three." But learn of it he does, and when Olivia's injured and unconscious body is found in the campus fountain just minutes after he had surreptitiously arranged to meet her, Mark is suspect number one. Later, when Olivia dies without regaining consciousness and Mark disappears, India takes it upon herself to find him all the while trying to discover who may have had a motive to hurt Olivia.
Maid of Murder is a pleasant mystery, India being a likeable lead who is surrounded by a generally entertaining cast of characters that have quirks, but aren't unrealistically quirky. The chick lit aspect is mercifully muted, though there can't be a wedding scene without a description of the bridesmaid's dress.
I unzipped the garment bag in a dramatic flourish and suffered paralyzing blindness. Rumplestiltskin gold. I yanked the dress from the bag in hopes that the brilliant gold was a layer of psychedelic tissue paper. No such luck. The shimmering gold fabric attracted light like a bike reflector. I hoped that the wedding invitations recommended guests bring sunglasses and SPF forty-five.
It's slightly disappointing, with India (and the author) being a librarian, that the plot doesn't have more of an academic slant to it, and that the murder and its resolution have no literary tie-in or basis. Still, readers looking for a credible whodunit with a minimum of violence and no objectionable language would do well to seek out Maid of Murder.
Acknowledgment: Amanda Flower provided an ARC of Maid of Murder for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Maid of Murder: Akron, Ohio
— ♦ —
Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower — An India Hayes Mystery
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $25.95
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites