Review: Bowled Over is the sixth (and according to the author, the last) romantic - comedy - mystery in the Maggie Kelly series by Kasey Michaels. This time the crime hits close to home when Maggie's father is accused of murder!
New readers of this series are likely to be confused by the relationships between the principal characters, so the author tries to provide an introduction. Maggie Kelly is the author of historical mysteries featuring the dashing Regency-era aristocratic detective Alexandre Blake, the Viscount Saint Just. Although originally just a character on the pages of her books, Alexandre (Alex) has come to life and brought with him his faithful friend and assistant Sterling Balder. Alex and Sterling live in a condo adjacent to Maggie's in Manhattan and share in her adventures. In Bowled Over, the trio travel to New Jersey for the Christmas holidays with Maggie's family only to find her father, Evan, arrested for killing a bowling buddy, Walter, Evan's bowling ball being the murder weapon. Naturally it falls to Maggie and Alex to find out who really killed Walter.
This series has (had) a clever gimmick but the author (or maybe the publisher or editor) allowed it, the gimmick, to become more important than the characters or the plots. When Alex was new to the 20th, and later 21st, century, it was a treat to watch him get acquainted with the modern world in which he was living and his new-found knowledge was often incorporated directly into the plots. When he and Maggie were sparring with each other, there was a romantic tension that enhanced the storyline but never became the story. But in Bowled Over and the previous book in this series, Alex no longer sees the world through Regency eyes, and as a result he's become rather tedious. Worse still is the relationship between Alex and Maggie which now lacks the spark evident in the earliest books and seems strained and contrived.
Are Maggie's adventures real? Or are they imagined, and is each book in the series merely Maggie's previously written fictional book within an idea for another book to be written? An intriguing possibility. But readers late to the series will no doubt find Bowled Over perplexing and not only for the gimmick for it's all a bit overwhelming. Better yet, start with Maggie Needs an Alibi (the "A" book in what was clearly intended to be an alphabet sequence until the fourth book was inexplicably renamed) before judging this one.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Bowled Over.
Acknowledgment: Book Trends provided an ARC of Bowled Over for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
High Heels and Holidays
Kensington Books (Trade Paperback), October 2006
ISBN-13: 9780758208828; ISBN-10: 0758208820
Location(s) referenced in Bowled Over: New York City, New Jersey
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Bowled Over by Kasey Michaels — A Maggie Kelly Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $14.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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