I have questions

Slick Dungeon here. What are the odds that a person with the last name of Dungeon is trapped in a dungeon? I’d say pretty high since here I am. I’ve slogged through another mystery book this week. While Death on Demand was actually not a bad book exactly, it left me with many questions.

If you like tight little mystery books, seriously you could do worse than this one. It is the 19th in a series though, so at points I was a little lost as I haven’t read the others. But I have questions. So many questions. One of them involves salty snacks and soda fizz. This book led my mind to some strange places.

The story centers on a bookshop owner who runs a little place called Death on Demand, that sells mystery books. Apparently, Annie, the bookstore owner has been involved in solving some crimes in the past, including clearing her own name and later her husband’s name of murder. For this entry in the series, a young woman named Iris comes back to the island everyone in the book lives on, gets invited to a party that Annie is hosting and winds up dead. Annie, her husband and the local police solve the murder. Since this book is a decent enough read I am not going to spoil the plot too much in case anyone wants to read it. But I am going to ask a few questions. If you have answers, let me know in the comments.

Questions:

  1. Does every mystery author have to name drop Agatha Christie?
  2. There’s a pretty funny part with Annie’s mother-in-law who teaches Tai-Chi in the bookshop. How big is this store? Is there really room to do Tai-Chi?
  3. If it weren’t for the deaths I would say this book is full of first world problems, these people drive around in golf carts, have oyster roasts and are moving into this big house. So my question is, who did they kill to get all that money?
  4. Okay, so if Annie was once suspected of murder, and so was her husband, Max, why the heck would cops be so friendly with these people? Cops can be jerks (not all cops but some) when you haven’t done a thing so why be so deferential to two people who keep getting wrapped up in murder cases? Nothing suspicious here!
  5. With all these deaths on the island of Broward’s Rock, why do people freaking live here? I mean the scenery seems nice and all, other than the dead bodies you seem to practically trip over.
  6. If Annie and Max have solved crimes before, and their friends who might be suspects in this murder investigation know it, why would anyone talk to Annie and Max? I mean the killer does try to kill them but why lead them on at all. Hey Annie and Max, – bang your dead, seems like a more effective way of silencing them to me.
  7. More to the point, if Annie and Max have been framed for murder, and presumably almost been killed before why o why would they talk to people who might have murdered someone else? That’s just asking for it.
  8. Okay, so ignoring questions 6 and 7, let’s say it was fine for these people to talk to Annie and Max, they are not police. Whatever evidence they gather wouldn’t really be admissible in court would it? So what’s the point? Let the cops do their jobs in this case guys!
  9. As a way of deluding herself into thinking that she isn’t really getting involved in the case, but helping Iris’ soul to find peace, Annie calls all of Iris’ old friends to get information for a “spirit poster”. Is that a real thing? I mean what is that? I get having nice blow up pictures of the deceased for funerals but seriously, is a spirit poster a thing? Everyone in the book seems to know what that is and I was like, what is a freaking spirit poster?
  10. At one point in the book a character says this, “Of course I can smell. It’s my head that hurts not my nose.” Are noses no longer considered part of the head?
  11. Does this book have to name drop ever mystery book and author that ever lived? Here’s a quote from the book, “She had delighted last week in pointing out to Annie the little-known fact that the office of Charlaine Harris, bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern vampire series was decorated with black-and-white photos of New Orleans grave art. Annie wondered if Charlaine Harris enjoyed Sarah Stewart Taylor’s mysteries that celebrated funerary art.” I wonder if Carolyn Hart had a word count to fulfill and realized paragraphs like the one quoted above would help her with that.
  12. No but seriously, is it every mystery book ever? Here’s another quote,”A poster of Allies Day, May 1917 by Childe Hassam rested on an easel. Annie nodded her approval when she saw the books with their roots in World War I: The Murder Stone by Charles Todd, Angels in the Gloom by Anne Perry, Pardonable Lies by Jaqueline Win-spear, The Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda, and Twenty-Three and a Half Hour’s Leave by Mary Roberts Rineheart.” The book is littered with passages like these. So many mystery novels, so many. Yo Dawg, I heard you like mysteries so I put a mystery in your mystery so you can mystery while you mystery.
  13. An odd quote to me here, “She attracted men from nine to ninety…” Never met a nine year old man myself, but I guess you never know?
  14. This question is my most vital question. I have to know the answer to this. If anyone out there in the internets can answer this, even if you ignore all the rest of my blog post, I will be eternally grateful to you. There is a part in the book where a character asks “You like peanuts in your Coke?” The book seems to indicate this is a southern thing. IS THIS REAL? Like for real, do people do that? If so that utterly blows my mind. Who thought to do that? Where does that come from? Why? Please let me know, my life is incomplete until I have an answer.
  15. Back to the thrust of the book. In one part Annie goes back to the woods where the murder happened and thinks to herself there is no danger now. Why would she think that? Dead bodies, attacks on her life, and the dang crime scene is safe? I don’t think so.
  16. In addition to all the name dropped books, did we have to go into extreme detail about every meal that Annie and Max ate? I get you want to say they are eating dinner but is this necessary? “He deftly served their plates, flounder with mushrooms and sour cream and grilled asparagus for Max, fried oysters on an onion bun and a hot German potato salad for Annie, Two unsweetened iced teas.” I’m no professional writer or script doctor but I think I can safely say, typing out a menu doesn’t drive the plot forward here. Also, Carolyn Hart is totally trying to meet her word count right?
  17. Another quote that struck me as odd, “Nice thing about an island is that everybody’s here unless they’re not.” Isn’t that true of all geographical locations? If I was not in this dungeon, I would not be here. Then again, maybe I’m out. I’ll have to check later. (A few minutes later) Nope, still here.
  18. In the climax of the book, they ask all the suspects to gather at a pavilion. Why would someone smart enough to murder the right people just show up to this?
  19. On that note, just because you know who had motive to kill someone doesn’t mean you have the actual evidence, This happens all the time in mystery novels but you really actually need hard evidence in a murder case and all the motive is just figured out by Annie and Max, I don’t think you’d have to be a good lawyer to get the murderer off. Pretty easy to sow doubt and say, who are these people that got to go interrogate witnesses. What’s the badge number? This is more a criticism of mysteries than this book in particular but it will always bug me.
  20. Are Annie and Max going to start hanging out with Agatha Raisin? I think they could have a nice little serial killers who got away with it brunch together sometime.

Twenty seems like a good round number to end on. Next week I will be back to review A Time to Love (Quilts of Lancaster County Series #1). Is it a quilt with a picture of Lancaster County or just quilts that belong to Lancaster County? Who is Lancaster County anyway? Sounds like a cowboy name to me. Do cowboys like quilts? Why won’t my brain turn off? Anyway.

Despairingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

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