Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Grave Issue: A Funeral Parlor Mystery

Happy Valentine's Day! Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke will be available on February 27.  It is the twenty-second book (wow) in A Hannah Swensen Mystery series.

A Grave Issue by Lillian Bell is the first installment in the A Funeral Parlor Mystery series.  Desiree Turner has returned home to Verbena, California after ten years.  Desiree was a reporter for KLVX-TV in Los Angeles until an on-air faux pas got her fired and unable to find another job in the industry.  She is now working at her families’ business Turner Family Funeral Home handling the front of the house issues that used to be done by her father before his disappearance.  Alan Brewer is brought in after being shot in the head.  There has been an ongoing dispute between the Brewer’s (Alan and his wife, Rosemarie) and their neighbor’s Lola and Kyle Hansen.  There was even an altercation at Delia Burns funeral between Lola and Rosemarie.  Kyle who has been a second father to Desiree is arrested for Alan’s murder.  Desiree knows Kyle did not harm Alan and begins probing into Alan’s death.  She soon unearths some interesting information regarding Alan.  Which of Alan’s secret got him murdered?  Desiree needs to work quickly before Kyle has to submit a change of address form with the local prison as his new address.

A Grave Issue is nicely written and has a fast pace.  I felt, though, that it was lacking in several areas.  The characters were not developed especially Desiree.  We are given scant information on Desiree who is a hard character to like.  She dives head first into the investigation and puts herself in danger several times.  It seems that Desiree has never heard of 911.  There are three different mysteries in A Grave Issue.  The murder of Alan Brewer, the disappearance of Desiree’s father and Jasmine Rodrigues’ stalker (Desiree’s best friend).  Two of these mysteries are resolved in the book and one readers are left to wonder about until the next book.  The murder occurs in first chapter (big pet peeve of mine).  I wish the author would set the stage first (especially since this is the first book in the series) and then have the murder occur.  The identity of the killer is a no brainer.  There are a limited number of suspects and a lack of sleuthing.  The focus of the book is not on Alan’s murder.  More of the story is devoted to Desiree’s missing father.  I wonder if this will be the focus of the next book or will it be in the background of the whole series.  There are a couple of love interests for Desiree.  We will have to wait and see which one strikes her fancy.  Verbena, California is a small town full of gossipy, quirky characters. I am giving A Grave Issue 3 out of 5 stars.  A Grave Issue is for those readers who prefer light-hearted humorous cozy mysteries.  The next book in A Funeral Parlor Mystery series If the Coffin Fits.  It will be released on September 11, 2018.

Thank you for reading my latest review.  Tomorrow I will be featuring Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine.  May you be blessed with a beautiful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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