it at Amazon
Mystery / cozy
Notes: Reviewer Mary Lynn is the author of "Dear Cari."
sleuths Judith McMonigle Flynn and her cousin, Serena Jones, accompanied
by their husbands and mothers, set out for a vacation at a Native
American casino hotel. In short order, Judith discovers the dead
body of the headliner's assistant. Judith's husband, a retired policeman,
is asked to assist the tribal police in the murder investigation.
A few days later another murder occurs, this time the headliner's
fiancée. To Judith's annoyance, Serena is too busy gambling
to help her with the investigation of the murders, but she feels
obligated to see justice done. As Judith begins asking questions,
she is warned that if she doesn't mind her business she will be
next. Of course she continues to ask questions.
question is who are the killers?, since Judith and Serena decide
that the circumstances dictate more than one person is involved.
Is it the headliner, who is an illusionist? His overprotective sister?
The rich woman in love with him? Or maybe it's his manager. Between
trying to keep repairs to her bed and breakfast and her family cabin
on track, Judith sets out to unmask the killers.
Daheim has an appealing style, giving just enough history of the
series main characters without overloading the reader with large
clunks of back story that would tend to bore readers of the series.
Setting the mystery at a casino hotel was a nice touch. There were
several characters I found particularly appealing, such as the wise,
ever- watchful doorman, the give-as-good-as-she-got waitress, and
Judith's aunt Deb, who was a total delight. Still, my enjoyment
of Hocus Croakus was dimmed by my inability to bond with Judith
or Serena. For me, the appeal in a mystery series is the liability
of the lead characters. I wasn't particularly taken with either
of the cousins. Serena seemed obsessed with gambling, while Judith
was overly proud of her ability to lie for a good cause.
I like realism in mysteries, these characters are a little too flawed
to make me a fan of this series. Nevertheless, the mystery itself
was so well-crafted I was not prepared for the unveiling of the
murder/s. Yet I didn't feel as if the author had cheated either.
As very little was as it seemed this book, Hocus Croakus will
delight mystery lovers who enjoy surprise endings. Such readers
will come away well satisfied, marveling that they didn't see the