My part of the world saw an average seven inches of snow on Monday 2/4/2019. My part of the world doesn’t know what to do with seven inches of snow. Lots of cancelled work. Lots of idle time. Another 4 – 6 predicted by tomorrow morning, 2/9/2019. More on Tuesday 2/12 and maybe again 2/14. So, grump, I’ll take some down time.
My favorite genre is mysteries, and has been since I was a little kid and got my hands on my first Nancy Drew. And my adoration runs to quirk: The Man from U.N.C.L.E, The Saint, and many even lesser-known titles have pride of place on my shelves. And of course I’ve started collecting Organizer sleuths and clutter-crazed criminals: so far, I’ve only gotten my hands on Mary Feliz, but that will change once I’ve completed the proper research.
I decided to branch out when I found Every Crooked Nanny by Mary Kay Andrews at a library sale. Always my downfall, library sales. Ms. Andrews’ who-done-it is set in Atlanta, which I like because of my father’s side, roots in Louisiana, both Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Her detective is female, which I like because I’m an obnoxious feminist. Her gumshoe is a retired police detective, a common element of a good mystery, who’s starting fresh with a new career, also a common element of a good mystery. The new career is in housekeeping, which I don’t think is so common. But it appealed to me because one of the ways I explain my work as a Professional Organizer is that “I come in so the housekeepers can come in behind me.” I also cheerfully admit “I don’t do squirt bottle.”
OHMIGOSH I DIDN’T LIKE IT.
I have seldom had such a strong reaction to a book. But I found just about everything about it dislikable: the detective is sour, prickly and disillusioned well beyond jaded. The victims EARNED it. The who-done-it of the who-done-it was preposterous. The supporting cast of characters feel like time-warped caricatures of anything from Blanche Devereaux and Paula Deen to everything Trae Crowder demolishes, and the relationships among them are often ugly. Do I know what I’m talking about concerning stereotypes? Only secondhand: I’ve spent some time in Florida, and met plenty of the relatives. But it’s ENOUGH.
And I got no sense of Atlanta, a city I’ve never visited but which is on my wish list: when I say I have family ties, I mean I want to see the streets named after my ancestors. Only thing I know better now about Atlanta are some street names.
This was the first in this series. I wish I liked it enough to give #2 a try, but I don’t. I don’t even like it enough to keep it. So off to a lovely little coffee shop in Mt. Vernon which has a lending library – I owe it a book from almost a year ago… if I can just remember which shop it is. Another mystery.
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