Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Dearly Departed by Hy Conrad

Dearly Departed (Amy's Travel Mystery, Book #2)
by Hy Conrad
Release Date: January 26th 2016
2016 Kensington
Ebook Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1617736834
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Cozy
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Paisley MacGregor, a maid to the rich, made a dying request to send all of her wealthy employers on a first-class wake to spread her ashes around the world. Amy has her suspicions about these “mourners,” especially when one has a life-threatening “accident” at the first stop in Paris. And when a mysterious American stranger tagging along with the group has his ticket punched in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, Amy knows she may have a killer on her tour.

Who was this stranger, and what’s the connection to someone in her group? Digging for clues while continuing on with the trip is a lot for Amy to manage, especially when another mourner has a possibly fatal encounter with a Hawaiian volcano. Back in the States, Fanny and Amy start to piece together a secret worth killing for, but someone is hot on their trail, and ready to send them on a one-way trip—to the morgue!

My Thoughts
Dearly Departed is the second book in the Amy's Travel Mystery series and one of the things I liked about this book was the travel portion, simply because I enjoy reading about travel and the things that people do while traveling.  I thought the premise to this book was quite interesting, but sometimes the premise, the promise, and the actual do not quite meet up, and this was the case here; perhaps it was also my higher expectations, as this author is the creator of Monk, a favourite television series of mine, and I was being a unfair in wanting a bit more.

First of all, I thought the actual story line was quite interesting. Amy takes a group of people on a tour around the world, making stops at previously designated locations by a deceased maid in order to pay respects to her and her service over the years.  As the story progresses you learn that not everything is status quo and someone is holding a dirty secret, one that may already have, or will lead to, murder.  The mention of secrets always captures my interest and I was curious to learn what that could be about as a maid would know a lot of things about the people for whom they worked, and Paisley worked for some very wealthy people.  It did take an awfully long time to get to the actual murder though, and by that time, I was actually starting to lose interest in the story for a variety of reasons.

One of those reasons has to do with the story itself.  While I thought the story line and premise were quite interesting, the writing was somewhat disjointed and it seemed to jump around quite a bit.  There was a lot of description, something I am not usually against, but in this book it was distracting and took away from the plot and it's one of the things that made it seem muddled.  There were times when I actually got lost in the dialogue, and didn't know who was speaking, as the qualifiers were often lacking, and I would have to re-read the page to figure out who said what. 

Another reason was Amy herself; I didn't particularly connect with Amy on any level and found her a bit annoying at times. She was a bit bland and wishy-washy. I also had no idea how Peter was connected to her and how and why he was interested in her romantically, but I also didn't care for him a whole lot as I found him weird.  I also didn't find many of the characters to be overly interesting, except maybe for the designer of the fancy glasses as she had a lot of things to say; I did wish she played a bigger role in the story as she was pretty much the only one I wanted to learn more about. There seemed to be hints to a lot of things, but nothing ever seemed to go any further than hints, something that was quite unsatisfying. Amy's mother is quite funny though, although I would definitely not want her as my own mother.  She tends to stir things up and has quite a personality, probably the only really interesting character of the lot; that being said though, there were moments when even her character was too much, and she became rather annoying instead of fun.

Dearly Departed isn't a bad story by any means, but it simply wasn't for me.  I found Amy to be quite indecisive and boring, and Peter was a bit too much for me, not even remotely interesting, not necessarily tour guides I would want for a trip I was taking.  While the mystery was okay, and the concept was fine, it did take a long time to build up to any actual events and I began to lose interest long before that happened; I also didn't have a problem figuring out the murderer although I didn't guess the motive until later in the book.  While I do encourage others to judge for themselves what they think of this novel, and I love Hy Conrad's Mr. Monk (Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant) series, I don't think I will be continuing with this series in the future.


  1. A good review, though it doesn't sound like it's for me.

    1. Thanks. This one was hard to write as I didn't want to tell readers to avoid it as many will probably enjoy it; it just simply wasn't a style that I enjoyed reading.