'Leave it to the ladies...
Most folks aren't forced by court order to attend a library-book discussion group, but that's just what happens to B and B proprietor and ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright, hippy cat lover Chandra Morrisey, and winery owner Kate Wilder after a small-town magistrate has enough of their squabbling. South Bass, an island on Lake Erie, is home to an idyllic summer resort, but these three ladies keep disturbing the peace.
The initial book choice is Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, and that sets their mouths watering. The Orient Express is the island's newest Chinese restaurant. They might not agree about much, but the ladies all love the orange chicken on the menu. But their meal is spoiled when the restaurant's owner, Peter Chan, has the bad fortune of getting murdered. Now, with Christie as their inspiration, the League of Literary Ladies has a real mystery to solve...if they can somehow catch a killer without killing each other first.'
If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you will notice that I tend to either really enjoy or really hate first novels in new cozy mystery series. For some reason they tend to be either on one end of the spectrum or the opposite end. No happy mediums. This one actually fell right in the middle. I enjoyed it to an extent, but I did have some issues with the characters. I wasn't overly impressed with this book, but there are a lot of debut cozy mystery books that are a lot worse. The strong resemblance to Murder on the Orient Express kind of makes the book seem like it lacks originality, but I can see how the author wanted to relate the two stories.
One issue that I had with this one was that the three main character, Chandra, Bea and Kate all hate each other to the point where everyone is tired of their bickering and the local magistrate orders them to participate in a library reading discussion group. Sure at the beginning they all hate each other, but then all of a sudden when they have a murder to solve and have to spend the next couple of days together due to a freak spring snow storm, they miraculously become best friends. In real life, come on, that would never happen. Sure there were a little jibes and bickering along the way, but nothing like I was expecting. I would have liked to have seen more of the conflict amongst the characters as I felt it would have brought a little something more to the story other than they hate each other and now they are best friends. It just felt wrong.
The mystery is well-developed and the plot wasn't lacking. There were a lot of suspects with an abundance of motives and opportunity, for some reason it worked but didn't knock me off my feet. I think that this series has some potential if the author uses my theory of having more conflict with the characters. The mystery part doesn't seem to me to need a lot of work, so the author at least has that part down. Just a normal cozy debut for me that could potentially become a series to enjoy, but I will have to read some more to see if it's a series I plan to stick with.
Overall Rating: 2.5
Title: Mayhem at the Orient Express
Author: Kylie Logan
Series: A League of Literary Ladies Mystery #1
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Get It: Amazon; Barnes and Noble
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Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.