Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: A Deal to Die For by Josie Belle

A Deal to Die For (Good Buy Girls Mystery #2)
by Josie Belle
Release Date: December 31st, 2012
2012 Berkley Prime Crime
Paperback Edition; 256 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-425-25185-0
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from Penguin Canada

4 / 5 Stars

Letting no good deal go undone, the Good Buy Girls are ready to pounce on the St. Stanley flea market, where wealthy Vera Madison is selling off her vintage clothing. The widow’s wardrobe is just what Maggie Gerber needs to give her second-hand shop, My Sister’s Closet, the edge over vindictive rival Summer Phillips, who’s opened her own second-hand shop across the street.

But when Vera is found dead, it turns out that she collected enemies like Dior gowns—and had more than a few skeletons in her walk-in closet. Now it’s up to Maggie and the Good Buy Girls to sort through the racks of suspects for the killer and get back to the business of bargains…

My Thoughts
A Deal to Die For is the second book in the Good Buy Girls Mystery series; and Josie Belle is one of the pen names used by Jenn McKinlay, one of my favourite cozy mystery writers, although it was something I discovered after reading this book.  I rather enjoyed this traipse into the world of bargain-hunters galore although to be honest, there really wasn't a whole lot in the way of bargain hunting in this fun murder mystery.

One of the things I enjoy with these types of series is the continuing storylines between characters and the fun it must be to explore these storylines.  As I haven't yet read the first one, I spent some time trying to put the relationships and assumptions together, but what was great about this book is that it could be read as a standalone if you wanted. And for those who aren't interested in investing in yet another series that isn't a bad thing. For others who may be looking for more, there are some fun storylines developing in this novel, ones that haven't really been solved either, and I rather like that as it makes me wonder what's next in store for these characters.

We have the prime suspect, Doc, who was there at the murder scene, and the on-going problems he is having with his long-time wife over something that happened in their past.  Who doesn't like secrets, perhaps dark ones, to set up an interesting dialogue / confrontation between people? There is the on-going issue between Maggie and Sam, the town sheriff.  More interesting secrets from the past that are about to be opened up like a can of worms. However, I do have to admit that there were times when Maggie's attitude towards Sam really got on my nerves as she sometimes behaved like a 13 year old hormonal girl rather than a grown adult; I just couldn't stand her outbursts towards Sam and her irrational justification to interfere in his job.  The one comment about how Sam behaved in the city is not how he will be behaving in her town and how she is not going to let him get away with arresting people or questioning people just made me grind my teeth.  Can we say obstruction of police? Or whatever the legal term is when you are interfering with a police investigation?  And then we have the conflict between Maggie and Summer. Too pat for my liking. And the fact that Summer just happened to buy the same type of shop across the street from Maggie? I have no words about that. Why can't adult issues be more adult sometimes rather than degenerating into something my two children would do? (It was fun to read though.)

A Deal to Die For is an interesting and fun cozy mystery populated by a host of quirky and enjoyable characters. I did have some moments with some of the relationships between the characters as the conflicts seemed to degenerate into children's squabbles but the plot did offer up a few surprises I wasn't expecting and caught me off guard a time or two simply because I was thinking too outside the box and not simply enough.  I am looking forward to Buried in Bargain, the next Good Buy Girls Mystery.



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