Monday, March 23, 2009

Dragonwell Dead, 6/81

I should start by stating that I am clearly not the intended audience for this sort of book. I read this book for the "tea" category in my 999 Challenge. This is the first book I've read in the "cozy mystery" genre, and everything about it was just a bit too cute for my taste. Much of the plot was highly improbable. The basic plot involves tea shop owner Theodosia Browning trying to figure out why a local orchid aficionado dropped dead immediately after winning a rare specimen at an orchid auction. There's not much else to say about the plot, so I'll get on to the elements I found unbelievable or troublesome. First, the prose is chock-full of description that seems to serve little purpose. Second, there's really no character development. The characters are entirely one-dimensional. Third, the elements of the story and completely implausible. What police chief allows a random civilian to drop off key evidence in a homicide investigation to him at her convenience? Finally, all the extraneous elements of the story are just a bit too perfect. Everything is the best and the nicest.- the nicest tea shop, the most popular bed and breakfast. The tea shop has an unflappable chef who can always make just the most perfect pastries. All this saccharine is more than a little tiresome. Nowhere have I seen a discussion (and an extensive discussion, at that) of a community of small businesses that suffer from none of the concerns endemic to business owners. Ultimately this was a quick read, but I got little out of the experience.

Laura Childs, Dragonwell Dead: A Tea Shop Mystery (Berkley, 2008) ISBN: 0425220451

Category: Tea, 3/9, 6/81

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