Aparna (inspirethoughts) wrote,

Book Critique 2016 – 07/10/2016: Murder, She Wrote #11: A Little Yuletide Mystery

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here
For review of all books under Murder, She Wrote series: Go here

Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: If you want an easy and quick murder mystery pick it up and you will enjoy it.

A Little Yuletide Murder is the 11th book in the Murder, She Wrote series by Donald Bain and fictional writer Jessica Fletcher based on the popular TV Show of the same name. The book was published in 1998.

This time around the plot is set in Jessica's own home town Cabot Cove, Maine. When the entire town is in full-mode planning for the town's famed week of Christmas celebrations, Rory Brent - local farmer who played the role of Santa Claus every year - was found murdered in his barn. Why would Rory be walking off to his barn that was almost half a mile from home with no coat, no hat and gloves in the bitter cold? Sherriff Mort Metzger had confirmed that Rory Brent had been murdered. Who would have had motive to kill him, other than the obvious person, Jake Walther - Jake and Rory had bad blood between them for a long time.

As the Sherriff and Jessica are investigating the crime, the rumor mill of Cabot Cove with its sharp tongue is bent on convicting Jake Walther without a trial only because he had burned quite a few bridges with everyone. But, did he really kill Rory Brent? Did Rory have any other enemies? With enough probable cause, Sherriff Metzger arrests Jake on suspicion of murder. And now Mary reaches out to Jessica for help. Jessica takes it upon herself to help Jake despite her mixed feelings. Will she be able to uncover the truth? Find who really killed Rory? And what is the reason behind all of it?

As usual no matter what Sherriff Mort Metzger might say, Jessica butts her head into the investigation. And she comes up with a series of potential suspects - Robert Brent (Rory's rebellious 18-year old son), Patricia Brent (Rory Brent's wife who had taken the death of Rory rather easily causing eyebrows to rise), Jake Walther (obviously because of the bad blood between Jake and Rory), Mary Walther (Jakes's wife), Dennis Solten (Mary's slow-witted brother), Jill Walther (Jake Walther's daughter)

The plot was essentially a very good one, with lot of complexities tied in. However there are quite a few chapters that go on and on and on about the nature of Jake Walther, the reasons for him to be suspected, etc. It made me feel as though I was living through the rumor mill. It was tiring to read so much of repetitive text. All in all another easy read from this series.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Grammatical errors in the book: a. On Pg. 24, para 2, in the last line "Jos. A. Bank" is spelled as "Jos. Bank" - the "A" is missing.
2) Geographical errors in the book: a. On Pg. 101, the author speaks about Indian food that Jessica's palate was not pleased. I was surprised that the author made such a huge error. The dishes mentioned are in reality from a different origin: Hummus Ba Tahini is a Mediterranean dish, Chicken Cous Cous is a Moroccan dish while Galaktoboureko is a Swedish dish.
3) Jessica speaks about her book, The Hanging Vine (which was originally titled The Hanging Grapevine), that had a similar plot where the rumor mill had taken center stage. But this is not a book that Jessica writes in the TV series nor in this book series. Perhaps something just mentioned in this plot.
4) Jessica's chef friends Richard and Mary Jane when inviting Jessica to their home for dinner mention the names of their guests. One happen to be friends from New York (Pg. 101). But later in the book this "Friends" turn out to be Richard's Cousin and his family (Pg. 104). Wonder if author forgot about the original characters. :P
5) The author mentions about a 1664 cookbook titled "The Accomplished Cook: Or, The Art and Mystery of Cookery". I did a google search and found that it was written by Robert May. Some of the pages have been reproduced in the 1980 cook book titled Maine Coastal Cooking. How interesting! 300 years old cooking recipes still are carried on.
6) The author mentions about a radio series Casey, Crime Photographer in the book. Later it has become into TV series too. More about here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey,_Crime_Photographer_(radio). Something to read for a future blog.
7) Jessica's publisher Vaughn Buckley wants her to write a true crime novel based on the crime that happened in her home town. Although reluctant Jessica does think about the pros and cons of writing a true crime novel. I wonder if the author will ever create one in future.
8) Some other Christmas books are mentioned in the book - some only exist for this plot and some are for real. Some more adding to my list of books to read and blog about. :)
a. The Dog That Talked at Christmas by Laurie Wilson - Does not exist for real.
b. A Christmas to Remember by Eugene Bradley Coco - Does exist
c. Carl's Christmas by Alexandra Day - Does exist
d. The Nutcracker Ballet by Vladimir Vagin - Does exist
e. The Lonely Snowman - I am thinking this exists as well
f. The Littlest Christmas Elf - Also exists
Tags: books, critique by amateur, murder she wrote, reviews

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