It's time for the April edition of What's on Your Nightstand, hosted by 5 Minutes for Books. Since I've been bad about blogging about recent books, I'm going to cram mini reviews of several books into this post. All of these mysteries are comedic, so they definitely tie together. The links will take you to longer reviews at Epinions if you are interested.
Up first is Corpse on the Cob by Sue Ann Jaffarian, the 5th in her Odelia Grey series. This book moves the action from Southern California to Massachusetts as Odelia finally is reconnected with the mother who abandoned her 34 years before. But her reunion winds up taking place in a corn maze when Odelia finds her mother kneeling over a dead body.
This series has some laugh out loud moments, but it is the most serious of the three I'll be talking about. But it also has the most real characters. I absolutely love Odelia, her husband Greg, and many of the other regulars. The dual plots of the mystery and Odelia's family conflicts played together well. I've been playing catch up on this series all year, and I'm sad I will now have to wait a year for the next in the series, although Sue Ann will launch a new Vampire series in September and have the second in her Ghost mystery series in February between now and then.
Then I read Revenge for Old Times' Sake by Kris Neri. I've been waiting for this book for a long time, and it was worth the wait. The series stars Tracey Eaton, the daughter of two movie stars. Her perception of reality is a bit wrapped, so these mysteries are definitely on the zany side. In this caper, Tracey is trying to clear her husband Drew of a murder charge when his boss shows up floating in their pool the day after Drew had a very public fight with him.
I mentioned this series is zany, right? Because there is no other way to describe it. A couple times, I had to remind myself not to let reality creep in. But the story is worth it because it is so much fun. And the mystery under the antics is very solid, with clues and red herrings leading to the solution, not just something pulled out of this air. The characters are real enough, but they are delightfully over the top at times.
Finally comes Death of a Trophy Wife by Laura Levine, one of my purchases at the book festival this weekend. Jaine Austen, our series star, is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. This one falls into sitcom territory, with supporting characters who help provide outrageous situations and sub-plots designed just for the humor. And it works. I always laugh my way through these books, and this one was no exception.
The plot was a tad on the weak side here. It involves Jaine trying to clear her neighbor of a murder charge when Bunny Cooper, the trophy wife of the Mattress King, is poisoned at her own party. It does provide a couple of nice twists. But it was the humor that kept me glued to the page. I finished this one at lunch time, and I did enjoy it.