Friday, October 6, 2017

Fixing to Die: A Southern Ladies Mystery

This week has just sped by so quickly.  Miranda James is the author of A Cat in the Stacks Mystery series (Claws for Concern will be out in February 2018) along with A Southern Ladies Mystery series.  The novels in A Southern Ladies Mystery series are Bless Her Dead Little Heart, Dead with the Wind, Digging Up the Dirt, and the latest is Fixing to Die.

Fixing to Die by Miranda James is the fourth book in A Southern Ladies Mystery series.  An’gel and Dickce Ducote have received a letter from Mary Turner Catlin about strange happening at her home, Cliffwood in Natchez, Mississippi. Mary Turner is at a loss and needs their help.  The sisters along with their ward, Bengy (and the pets) pack up and head to Natchez (with Bengy driving so they make it without any speeding tickets and get to enjoy the scenery).  Mary Turner was not kidding about the odd things occurring around the house—doors closing on their own, items moving around a room, cold spots, and strange shadows.  Is there a ghost at Cliffwood or is someone trying to get the Catlin’s out of their home?  The Ducote’s are just getting settled when a psychic shows up at the door saying she was drawn by a spirit who needs her help.  But she is not the only unwanted guest.  Two cousins and their lawyer descend on Cliffwood and insist upon staying for a few days (just what they need during their vacation time).  The next day Nathan Gable (one of the cousins) is found dead in his bed with a frightened expression on his face.  Did one of their unexpected guests kill Nathan or was it the spirit haunting Cliffwood?  An’gel and Dickce want answers and set out to reveal the truth.

Fixing to Die has some lively characters and a beautiful old home for the setting (I would love to live in it).  Miranda James did a wonderful job at portraying the accent of people who live in the South along with their characteristics.  The story contains some nice writing, but it lacked an ease. I thought Fixing to Die was a slow starter.   The murder did not occur until the 48% mark.  The murder mystery was straightforward and the majority of readers will identify the perpetrator long before the reveal (it can be deciphered before Henry Howard finds Nathan’s cold body).  The “hauntings” and who is behind them is equally unpuzzling. There was little investigation by the sisters.  They never looked at the body or checked out the crime scene.  Most sleuths would rush to check out both before the police arrive (the body would give them vital clues).  An’gel and Dickce asked questions, examined walls (for secret passageways), and endlessly speculated what could have happened.  The story is lacking in action and ending was anticlimactic.  The author also left some threads dangling at the end of Fixing to Die.  My rating for Fixing to Die is 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I would not recommend starting with Fixing to Die.  I have read the other books in A Southern Ladies Mystery series, and I felt a little lost in the beginning.  I liked what was called the Nancy Drew effect (made me laugh).  Who doesn’t want to find a secret passageway?  

I hope everyone has had a pleasant week and that you will have a relaxing weekend.  I will be sharing my thoughts about House. Tree. Person by Catriona McPherson next time.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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