Thursday, January 11, 2018

For Better or Worse: A Ginger Barnes Main Line Mystery

Good Morrow!  Scone Cold Killer by Lena Gregory will be available on January 23.  It is the first book in All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery seriesAmish Cooking Class--The Celebration by Wanda Brunstetter will be published on February 6.  It is a delightful Amish series (and I cannot wait to read it).

For Better or Worse by Donna Huston Murray is A Ginger Barnes Main Line Mystery (Book Eight).  Ginger Barnes, known as a problem solver, is a widow with her son in college and her daughter is newly married (empty nester).  Ginger is installing tile in the kitchen of her daughter’s new home and soon finds herself involved in two of the neighbor’s problems.  Mrs. Maisie Zumstein is an elderly woman who has been acting strangely.  She dumped a bag of bricks out of upper window (starling Ginger) and then Ginger hears strange popping noises (reminiscent of gun shots).  Eric Zumstein claims his grandmother has a fascination with mystery novels (methinks there is more going on).  But then Maisie takes a fall down her stairs and claims Eric is responsible.  Cissie Voight is a new mother having trouble coping with a new infant and her household responsibilities.  Her husband wants a clean home, a dolled-up wife, and a hot dinner when he arrives home (unrealistic with a newborn).  When Ronald Voight is not pleased, he takes it out on Cissie.  Can Ginger help Cissie and Maisie?  Ginger is offered a job as a part-time babysitter for George Elliot’s (friend fixed her up with George) grandson, Jack.  Ginger enjoys taking care of Jack, but soon discovers that the parents have a secret.  In between DIY projects at her daughter’s house, Ginger delves into the situations.  Can she help Cissie escape an abusive situation?  Did Eric harm Maisie?  What is up with Jack’s parents?

For Better or Worse is the first book I have read in A Ginger Barnes Main Line Mystery series.  All the information I need is provided in the book.   The POV switches between various characters in the book.  I wish the author had told the story in third person or from Ginger’s point-of-view.  It is confusing when the POV switches regularly.  A reader must stop to figure out which character is now talking.  This took me out of the story (and had me frustrated).  I felt that the story lacked focus.  While there are several mysteries or “problems” in the story, they are not the main focus.  More time is devoted to Ginger and her dog, Fideaux (they go for many walks).   The author does address some serious issues in the book and handles them well.  I was a little baffled as to why Ginger was scared of the “census guy” (as she called him) and the man walking his dog.  I found it odd and did not seem to go with Ginger’s character.  Ginger comes across as a strong, determined, independent and friendly woman who likes to help people (she is a people person).  She tackles situations head on, but she can be reckless at times.  The ending felt incomplete.  Some questions remained unanswered.  While For Better or Worse tackles some sensitive (tough) issues is does contain light-hearted humor (this is a light cozy mystery).  Many cozy mystery readers will enjoy For Better for Worse and A Ginger Barnes Main Line Mystery series.  The first book in the series is The Main Line is Murder.

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I am still busy working on repairs in my attic.  I will be working up there for the next month (it is a tiny crawl space attic).  I am trying to get everything done before it starts warming up (in Florida that is in February).  I will return tomorrow with my review of The English Wife by Lauren Willig.  May you have a pleasant day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  

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