Thursday, November 3, 2022

Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire

 Dead and Gondola
Book Summary

Ellie Christie is thrilled to begin a new chapter. She’s recently returned to her tiny Colorado hometown to run her family’s historic bookshop with her elder sister, Meg, and their beloved cat, Agatha. Perched in a Swiss-style hamlet accessible by ski gondola and a twisty mountain road, the Book Chalet is a famed bibliophile destination known for its maze of shelves and relaxing reading lounge. At least, until trouble blows in with a wintry whiteout. A man is found dead on the gondola, and a rockslide throws the town into lockdown—no one in, no one out.
The victim was a mysterious stranger who’d visited the bookshop. At the time, his only blunders had been disrupting a book club and leaving behind a first-edition Agatha Christie novel, written under a pseudonym. However, once revealed, the man’s identity shocks the town. Motives and secrets swirl like the snow, but when the police narrow in on the sisters’ close friends, the Christies have to act.

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.
My Thoughts

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.  

The 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.

Dead and Gondola is available from Amazon*.  Readers can follow Ann Claire on Amazon so they can be notified when she has a new book release.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I will be back on Tuesday with Christmas at the Amish Market by Shelley Shepard Gray. I am cutting back on my blog a bit due to health reasons.  I have been overdoing it which makes my condition worse.  The doctor said I need more rest and less stress (easier said than done).  I hope that you have an enjoyable weekend.  I will be busy putting away the Halloween decorations (this is the part I do not enjoy).  I will do a little at a time, so I do not overdue.   Take care and Happy Reading!


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