Monday, May 15, 2017

Uniformly Dead: A Stitch in Time Mystery

Uniformly Dead by Greta McKenna is the first book A Stitch in Time Mystery series.  Daria Dembrowski lives in Laurel Springs, Pennsylvania.  Daria is trying to expand her seamstress business by sewing for reenactors.  A group of Civil War reenactors have set up an encampment on the outskirts of Turner Run Park.  Daria’s first customer is Colonel Windstrom (his reenactor name) and he needs a new historically accurate uniform. After Colonel Windstrom’s appointment, Daria is surprised by the arrival of her brother, Pete.  She has not seen him in six years since he left to work in Hollywood.  Pete is in town working as a cameraman on the Civil War film God and Glory, and he needs a place to crash.  Daria heads to the reenactors camp to visit Colonel Windstrom where she encounters the dashing Sergeant Jim Merrick (aka Jim Laker).  To help ensure the authenticity of the uniform, Daria visits the Tremington Museum where there is currently a Civil War display from the collection of Emmeline McDowell.  There is a beautiful Civil War era doll called Angeline that Daria admires.  But then there is a kerfuffle, the lights go off and when they come back on the doll is gone. Daria finished the uniform and drops it off with the cranky Colonel.  After leaving his tent, Daria realizes she forgot her tape measure and returns.  She finds Colonel Windstrom dead on the floor and Chris Porter standing over him with a bayonet in his hands.  Chris is due to marry soon and his fiancé, Marsha is distraught.  Marsha asks Daria to clear Chris’ name (personally, I would hire a PI).  Daria agrees to help Chris, but then her brother is in trouble as well.  The missing doll is found in Pete’s room.  Someone is setting him up, and Daria is determined to clear Pete’s name.  Can Daria can sew up the crimes before there is another fatality?

I found Uniformly Dead to be an easy to read book.  There are several unique characters in the book.  The troublesome brother, the rocker roommate, the cranky Colonel, and the meddlesome photographer are a few examples.  I thought, though, that the characters lacked depth (they were flat).  The author failed to bring them to life for me.  We are not given many details on these characters (more on Daria than the others).  Of course, there is the requisite romance for our main character.  Daria has two potential suitors in Uniformly Dead.  The mystery is simple and easily solved (you do not even need clues).  There are two main storylines (the missing doll and the murder) that end up being tied together. There is a lot of action in the story.  There is one inane incident after another.  I wish the author had not tried to put so much into the first book.  The author should have spent more time on establishing the characters and the setting along with more focus on Daria's work.  It would have been nice if the whodunit had been more complex and difficult to solve.  I give Uniformly Dead 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay).  I did not like Daria's roommate, Aileen (no last name given).  She is the lead guitarist in a rock band (from her description she would scare children and most adults).  She is an over-the-top and in-your-face type of person (she tells off cops too). Besides living in the house, her band practices in the basement. Daria complains repeatedly about the music, but readers are never told why she lets them practice there (maybe for money). Uniformly Dead is for readers who enjoy light, humorous cozy mysteries (like Kym Roberts and J.R. Ripley's novels).   I wanted Uniformly Dead to be similar to The Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series by Elizabeth Lynn Casey.  Uniformly Dead will be out on Tuesday, May 16.

I appreciate you visiting and reading my review.  I am presently reading Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge.  I will be featuring A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd on Tuesday.  May each of you have a exceptional day. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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