Happy Martin Luther King Day! I wanted to tell you about two new cozy mystery series by Annie's Attic. They are Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library and Chocolate Shoppe Mysteries. I just purchased the first book in both series and cannot wait to read them (I am determined to make room in my reading schedule). The first book is half price and it is available in hardcover or ebook. I have read every series published by Annie's and I have yet to be disappointed.
Time Out by Suzanne Trauth is the second book in A Dodie O’Dell Mystery series. Dodie O’Dell is the manager of the Windjammer in Etonville, New Jersey. She has arranged a two-day food festival with 1940 Brooklyn themed food items in conjunction with the ELT (Etonville Little Theatre) production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Antonio Digenza, the guest director, joins the festival and is soon enjoying a knish (and “elderberry wine”). Dodie hears choking and sees Antonio collapse (his face ends up in his plate of food). Antonio is dead and people are blaming his death on the Windjammer’s food. The Windjammer’s business takes an instant decline and Henry, Dodie’s boss, is less than thrilled with Dodie. Dodie knows there was nothing wrong with the food since no one else fell ill (dozens of people attended the festival). Dodie needs to restore the reputation of the Windjammer. She starts investigating Antonio to find out who wanted him dead. In the short time Antonio was in town, he managed to alienate the entire cast of Arsenic and Old Lace. Someone is not happy with Dodie investigation. She receives a threatening note telling her to back off. This just spurs Dodie on to find the truth.
Time Out is easy to read and nicely written. I thought there were a few too many quirky characters. One per town should be the quota. I quickly tired of Honey (Henry’s niece who is majoring in packaging in college) and her use of the word “like” (she talked like an 80s valley girl). I am amazed that Dodie has a job with how little time she spends working. When she starts an investigation, she seems to spend the majority of her time questioning people (and running around town). Dodie is prone to jumping to conclusions about her investigation and Bill Thompson (the guy she is interested in). I did get tired of the frequent mentions about Bill’s physique (makes me want to tell the writer that we get it. He is well built and Dodie is attracted to him.) I give Time Out 3 out of 5 stars (it is okay). I did not find the mystery puzzling. It is easy to figure out (very early in the book) how Antonio was killed and by whom. The secondary mystery (I only talked about the main one) was equally simple (burglaries in the next town that Bill Thompson is helping to solve). Some information is mentioned more than once especially information about the crime (filler). I am not sure how many more murders can occur at the Etonville Little Theatre. There have already been two. It can only go on so long without being farfetched. Time Out may be the second book in the series, but it can be a stand-alone. The background information on Dodie and the first book (Show Time) are included in Time Out. The first book in A Dodie O'Dell Mystery series is Show Time. You can find out more about Suzanne Trauth and her books on her website. Time Out will be available for purchase on Tuesday, January 17. Running Out of Time is the next book in the series and it will be released on October.
I am off to eat my dinner and read The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry (it is a slow book). I did not fall asleep until 4:30 a.m. so I am a wee bit tired (I was watching Victoria on Masterpiece). May all of you have a divine evening. I will be reviewing Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz tomorrow. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader