Saturday, March 30, 2013

What I Read This Week

What I Read This Week . . .

Do Not Disturb (Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery #2) by Kate Kinsgbury -- Historical Mystery

Autumn 1906 : Mr. Bickley, a worker on the new lighthouse project, steps outside to answer a knock on his door one evening and promptly dies. At first the local police think he suffered a fatal heart attack, but the postmortem results come back as poison! When Madeline Pengrath, an eccentric herbalist is taken in for questioning, Mrs. Cecily Sinclair, steps in to solve the mystery before her friend can be wrongly accused. Cecily is a widow and owner of the Pennyfoot hotel. She misses her husband but enjoys the freedom the new century and the Queen's death have brought, much to the dismay of her manager, Baxter. A mysterious, black veil-wearing guest has checked into the hotel. She claims to be a widow but her behavior is a bit suspicious. Cecily knows better than to ask questions though, for she allows her patrons to engage in behavior the authorities wouldn't quite like. Her reticence doesn't stop housemaid Gertie from voicing her opinions below stairs. Gertie has her own personal problems to deal with though, so her fears must be overcome if she's to stay in a job. Only Mrs. Chubb, the housekeeper, knows Gertie's secret and is determined to help. 

This is the second book in the series. I haven't read the first and I don't feel that it's necessary to read the first book first. This story has it's own self-contained mystery and introduces the characters to the reader. I feel indifferent towards this book. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. The mystery is interesting and kept me guessing all the way until the end. Cecily figured it out before I did! There was a large red herring and I was convinced I was right until I was proven wrong. The ending is too rushed and I would have liked a little bit more conclusion. There is a little bit of violence in the form of tavern brawling, but no hardboiled crime. This is very much a cozy mystery. There are some period details relating to the changing roles of women and commerce which I liked. The characters are quirky and colorful. Cecily is the most fleshed out and interesting in this story. I liked her and could relate to her desire to be something more than what was expected of her, but she's quite a bit older than me and I couldn't fully relate to her. Also, there's a lot of repetitive telling. The other characters were a little underdeveloped. There are hints at some unusual relationships in the story that may develop as the series progresses. I liked the little hint at romance. The language didn't sound very period though so that really turned me off. Some of the scenes were repetitive and others lacked momentum. I was expecting more Downton Abbey, I suppose, and failing to live up to my expectations, I just couldn't love the book. I may read more in the series later on though. This is a short, quick read that would be perfect for the beach or a lazy day.

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