Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Ho Ho Homicide. The Christmas rush is on as Brandy Borne and her quaintly quirky mother, Vivian, sniff out plum collectibles for resale, only to find the owner of a Santa’s workshop worth of treasures has received some deadly tidings. It’s beginning to look a lot like murder…but who wanted the deceased closed for the holidays-permanently? Maybe a rival antiques dealer, a Grinch who collects Christmas? Or the victim’s suspiciously frosty stepchildren? Brandy and Vivian check their list of who’s been naughty or nice, but it may take a Christmas miracle-and some help from Sushi, their elfin shih tzu-to tie a bow around the season’s most wanted killer!
A cute, quick, fun read. I loved the quick and witty banter between Vivian (the mother) and Brandy.
Mother to Brandy: So sorry to interrupt, dear, but, this is a short story, not one of our novels. Do move things along-we don’t need every nuance.
Brandy to Mother: I was just setting the stage – you should know that, seasoned thespian that you are.
There is also lots of banter between the narrator (Brandy or Vivian) and the reader –for example:
“This is Vivian taking the reins, dears, because after we had returned to our domicile, Brandy went straight back up to bed— so, for the nonce, she is no help either as detective or as narrator!”
“My dears, I would love to regale you with some wonderfully witty stories about the trolley passengers— especially tales about the midget and the monkey (two separate incidents); but time is of the essence, as is word count, since both Brandy and our New York editor have made the unwise decision to limit my participation as coauthor. They claim that, unbridled, I would contribute (to quote our editor) “enough excessive discursive material to require decimating a forest to provide the paper.” I put it to you: have I gotten off the track? No— I got on the trolley, and I even resisted sharing the midget and monkey stories with you.”
(Editor to Vivian and Brandy: Ladies, this squabbling must stop— you’re looking foolish and unprofessional. Get back on point—don’t you have a murder to solve? Or would you like to have your short-story contract cancelled?)
I just found these little snippets of dialogue very engaging, making the read seem like the narrator was speaking specifically to me. It is different from the majority of cozies I have read and I found it endearing. Of course, I might find it irritating if I was reading a full length novel? I will just have to test this out on one of Barbara Allan’s full length novels.
Brandy lives with Vivian – her mother. Vivian, Brandy and Sushi (the pet dog) all get medications each morning….Sushi gets a syringe with insulin. Vivian gets a pill that was an antipsychotic for bipolar disorder and Brandy gets an antidepressant. Starting out this way one can only speculate on the craziness with which the reader will be bombarded with.
As with all cozy mysteries….there is a murder which Brandy and Vivian proceed to sleuth about and determine all the pertinent details like when and who dunnit (the reader already knows who was killed…poor Bernie Watkin). As I do not want to spoil the mystery…not much else needs to be said, otherwise…there will be no mystery.
As stated previously, I found the charm in this book to be the way the characters interact with the reader. I shall be very interested in reading a full length mystery from this author and see if I still enjoy this style.