Although the only Agatha in their family tree is their cat, Ellie and Meg know a lot about mysteries and realize they must summon their inner Miss Marple to trek through a blizzard of clues before the killer turns the page to their final chapter.
Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire is the first A Christie Bookshop Mystery. Ellie Christie has returned to her hometown of Last Word, Colorado to run the Book Chalet, the family bookshop with her older sister, Meg. A stranger comes into the bookstore looking for someone, but he refuses to provide any information. The man left his satchel behind with a rare, signed copy of a Mary Westmacott novel inside. As Meg and Ellie are getting onto the gondola, they notice the mystery man ahead of them. By the time the gondola reaches the bottom, the man is dead. The police do not find any identification on the victim. Ellie, Meg, and Gram are curious about the victim. They do a sleuthing in the hopes of uncovering the guilty party.
Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire a quirky new cozy mystery. The story is told in the first person with Ellie Christie as the narrator. The author gives picturesque descriptions of the town, bookshop, and characters. I did not feel that there always needed to be such wordy descriptions utilizing multiple adjectives. I wish I could visit Book Chalet, the Christie’s bookshop that was a former ski chalet. It has a rabbit warren of shelves filled with books (every booklover’s dream). We meet a number of characters in the beginning as the Mountains of Mystery group meets in the reading lounge. It is difficult to keep them all straight (even after reading and rereading the chapter). I felt bad for Ms. Ridge when Morgan Marin sashayed in and took control of the group. There are references to Agatha Christie and her books scattered throughout the story. I love the gondola line that runs from Last Word to the base of the mountain.
whodunit was a letdown for me. The
mystery can be solved quite early in the book.
There are several suspects along with misdirection. There are plenty of clues to aid readers in
solving the crime. The reveal reminded
me of Murder, She Wrote with a touch of Scooby Doo. I liked that all the details of the mystery
were wrapped up at the end. There is a secondary mystery involving Ms.
Ridge. She disappears during the Mountains of Mystery meeting. Ms. Ridge fails to return to work, and she is
not at home. It is easy to guess what
made Ms. Ridge do a runner. There is
humor scattered throughout the book.
Gram particularly provides lighthearted moments. There is also the pretentious Agatha C., a
long-haired Siamese who is the queen of the Book Chalet. Let us not forget Calamity Janet, a pony with
attitude. Dead and Gondola failed to
capture and hold my attention. The story
was a little humdrum at times, and I thought it was too long. There were also repetitive details. Those who are fans of Agatha Christie will
enjoy this cozy mystery. Dead and Gondola takes us to chilly Colorado where there is a mysterious man, a
pretentious pony, a silly séance, an absent assistant, curious club members, gratis
gondola rides, and a Ouija board omen.
The Avid Reader
*This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.