Book Review: The Bride Wore Dead, E.M. Kaplan
The full title of this grouchy, scrappy little book is: The Bride Wore Dead: An Un-Cozy Un-Culinary Josie Tucker Mystery (Josie Tucker Mysteries Book 1). In this opening salvo to a new (to me) mystery series, The Bride Wore Dead is a great start.
Josie Tucker is a unique protagonist. She’s in a very tough position in life. Her father died a long time ago, and her mother, a native of Thailand, is in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Josie hails from Arizona, but has somehow landed in Boston, surrounded by a messy apartment, a faithless dog, and three good friends who, for some reason, love her. But Josie is very tough former juvenile delinquent, currently passing herself off as a food critic despite the fact that her stomach is so sour she can’t keep food down. Through a series of wacky circumstances, she is asked to do some detective legwork at a luxury spa in her Arizona home town. Let’s face it; she needs the money and some new career prospects.
Given that this book is a comic mystery, it would have been so easy to make Josie a one-note character with only wisecracks to keep the dialog moving. The story, though, is well-crafted, and hearing the thoughts in Josie’s head hardly got tiresome. It would have been nice if the three friends Josie left back in Boston, Susan, her upper-crust best friend; Drew, her doctor and secret crush; and Benjy, a sweet loser who was scarcely represented at all in the book, had had a chapter or two discussing their worries over their absent friend. I wanted to hear more from them.
So, there’s a murder, and there’s a mystery within a mystery, which is always an engaging vehicle. And speaking of vehicles, I’m not sure why the cover has a classic Thunderbird instead of a bottle of antacid, but nobody asked me for my opinion. I’m very happy to have been given the opportunity to read and review this book, and I look forward to continuing with the Josie Tucker Mysteries series.