Thursday, December 29, 2022

A Streetcar Named Murder by T G Herren Book Review

About the Book:

When the mysterious letter arrives by courier, Valerie Cooper doesn’t know what to make of it. She’s become the beneficiary of her late husband’s estranged uncle’s will—a man she never knew—and inherited a majority partnership in the family’s company, New Orleans Fine Antiques. Valerie knows nothing about antiques, but she decides to learn the business and become an active partner. She’s also got her hands full fending off Collette, a woman who wants to sell the huge old house in the Irish Channel neighborhood Valerie and her husband painstakingly renovated.

Valerie isn’t interested in selling—but when her best friend Lauren, drags her to a costume party for the women’s Mardi Gras club, the Krewe of Athena, she stumbles over Collette’s body, a jeweled dagger sticking out of her chest. In a rush of panic, Valerie recognizes the dagger from her shop—and before she knows it, she’s become murder suspect number one.

Egged on by Lauren, she starts digging into Collette’s business dealings, and the deeper she digs, the dirtier it gets. Now all fingers are pointing at Valerie. In a desperate bid to clear her name, Valerie frantically tries to find who could have gotten hold of the dagger. But among a cadre of guests in full costume, it could be impossible to find the thief - and unmask the real killer.

My Review:

This is a really different cozy mystery. In fact it didn't seem like a mystery at all for over half the book. A murder does not happen until the second half of the book. The first half is setting up the characters and is loaded with description. I read more about the streets and buildings of New Orleans than I really cared for. There is a great deal of descriptive prose in the novel as well as long passages of character thought. Because of the structure of the first half of the book, I did not find the novel engaging at all. There was a tiny bit of suspense near the end.

I think the characters were crafted well, however. Colette comes across as a truly mean woman who any number of people would rather see dead than put up with her any longer. So there are a number of possible suspects. Valerie was a suitable heroine. It did not seem realistic that she did not know why Colette hated her. If the community was such a gossip mill as other characters indicate, it was odd she did not know the reason for hate.

This is a novel for cozy mystery readers who don't mind the murder being somewhat a minor focus of the novel as a whole. Potential readers should also like long descriptive passages about New Orleans, being immersed in the architecture and culture of the city.

My rating: 3/5 stars. 

About the Author:

T. G. Herren is the pen name of Greg Herren, an award winning author who has published over thirty-six books and over fifty short stories under various names. Herren is a long time resident of New Orleans, where every day is Anything Can Happen Day. Herren has also worked as sports/fitness journalist, an editor, and spent far too many years working in the airline industry.

Crooked Lane Books, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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