Of all the books I’ve been reading it is silly to write about one of the most irritating, but that’s where I’m at this morning. I realize people love this series but everything about the first book grated on me! It is “Murder with Peacocks”, set in a small town. Our heroine is a blacksmith but took the entire summer off to go live with her mom and sister and do a professional job for free (planning three very large, complicated weddings and all the parties leading up to them).
Everyone is supposed to be quirky and funny, which is kind of cool, except they are all horrible with horrible boundaries and the gender politics are from like, the bad part of 1980 that voted against the ERA. Multiple (witnessed!) sexual assaults are treated as mildly humorous! The heroine just doing a shit ton of work for free for her horrible, entitled family is supposed to make them all extra charming. She’s so independent, strong, and liberated, but for fun she cleans the houses of strangers and her own (rich, I guess) family’s SEVEN BATHROOMS. I am over her, and everyone around her!
It’s also written in the weird twilight zone where everyone should have a cell phone, but they don’t, because the writer hasn’t figured out how to do a mystery with cell phones yet – let’s not forget that era of books and TV that were so strange!
Let’s also not forget the weird racist sweatshop (owned by the male romantic lead) in this tiny town with Mrs. Tranh (the heroine THINKS she MAY be Vietnamese – hello – perhaps the name and them speaking Vietnamese could be a clue) and the unnamed, unnumbered Ladies who don’t speak any English and sew wedding outfits 24/7 apparently and also no one in town knows them or invites them to anything despite the town all going to the weddings and knowing all of each others’ business.
But that is not even my most persistent quibble. There is a guy whose wife died and her sister, his sister-in-law, comes to stay, and (bad boundaries alert) Meg our heroine keeps ending up searching the sister-in-law’s room and suitcases and comenting on how she finds more and more “expensive knick-knacks” in the suitcases, so the sister in law was stealing, which is treated (like every crime, including murder) as mildly humorous. (Maybe they were her sister’s or family heirlooms, anyway!)
But THAT is not even my quibble.
WHAT are these expensive knicknacks? I can’t imagine what they ARE! Are they bookends made of GOLD?! What? What are they? Are they snuffboxes previously owned by Louis XIV?! Are they, like, a gem encrusted robot nightingale that sings, like some Caliph gets for a present in the 1001 Nights?
So, I am not like, filthy rich but I am comfortably well off and buy myself nice things sometimes. Here are some of the knick-knacks I can see from bed.
(They are there on purpose since I am in bed a lot and enjoy looking at them!) These non-valuable objects include:
* A lava lamp. Would fit in a suitcase.
* A small china triceratops
* A fist-sized chunk of green glass I got in an estate sale
* A copper bud vase with gold and enamel inlay
* Another bud vase, art deco, painted
* A decoupaged tray my grandma made
* A glass cube with laser etched diagram of the known universe
They are valuable only to me, though maybe you could resell the bud vase for thirty bucks or so on ebay. (I looked, for reference!) The rest of it? Not valuable.
So much for the madcap mystery. All the characters need to go read Captain Awkward for at least 2 years and think hard about their life choices.
Please send help and tell me what these small town valuable small objects might be!
2 thoughts on “Quibbling with an irritating mystery novel”
Regarding the cell phone business, the book – which sounds like you should throw it against the wall – was published in 1999. I knew only a few people who had cell phones then. In one case, it was because of a sick family member. In another, the owner was a nurse who was sometimes on call. I didn’t get one until 2004 myself.
Oh hmm I suppose so! They were pretty rare back then! Nonetheless, the fusty feeling of this book still lingers!