Archive for 'Bright, Elizabeth'
Murder and Salutations is billed as a card-making mystery, and is set in a small town in Virginia. Jennifer Shane is the main character and she has a newly opened card-making store. When there is a murder at the Chamber of Commerce banquet, Jennifer gets involved to try to protect her sisterâ€™s reputation â€“ the woman murdered is known to be having an affair with the sisterâ€™s husband.
I didnâ€™t like this book much for several reasons and I am going out on a limb and guess the reason why. According to the book, Elizabeth Bright is the pseudonym of a nationally best-selling mystery author. While there are several good reasons for an author to use a pseudonym, there are several bad ones, too. One of which is that they are writing too many books, and I suspect that this is the case with Murder and Salutations. Yes, an author can churn out six books each year, publish them under pseudonyms, and increase their income for that year. But what you often get are six books of poor quality instead of one or two good ones.
There are several indications that this is what the author is doing in the quality of the writing in this book. First, there is a lot of dialogue in this book and it is very repetitive. It takes up a lot of space to have characters talk about what they are going to do, confirm that plan, explain that plan, change that plan, etc. It is filler, it is awkward, and it is much faster to write than good character development or luscious descriptions of scenery. You also see poorly thought out dialogue like this lovely quote from page 73 regarding the murder:
â€œI understand a shop woman did it. Seems her husband was stepping out on her with the victim. They were having some tawdry affair. These commoners have no more morality than alley cats.â€
Now who in modern day Virginia refers to people as â€œcommoners?â€ I donâ€™t recall there being much royalty down South.
This book also has characters and plot lines that arenâ€™t thought out and go nowhere. The prat who blithers the quote above appears for approximately three pages and serves only to achieve a desired plot twist. There is another character in the book who becomes a suspect because of his violent behavior towards the main character â€“ but we have absolutely no clue why he has taken such an intense dislike to her and it is never explained.
And to top it off, the vital clue to the solution of the murder is presented with so little finesse that it might as well have been lit with neon. It frustrates me that this book is so poorly written. I hope the author is not sullying all of their books this way.
Favorite character? None. Did I guess it? Yes. Will I read another? No. And if you know the authorâ€™s other pseudonyms, let me know so I can scratch them off my list, too.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007