TWoP Fan's CBR-III Review #12 – Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack

It's no secret that I love a 'cozy' mystery book. When I read, sometimes I want something that lets me relax and enjoy a scenario that would never play out in my real life. I'm an escape reader. With this book, I felt no relaxation, just stress, because the main character of this book is an awful person.

Sadie Hoffmiller is supposed to be the sweet older widow next door, the kind of woman who brings food when the baby is born, who gathers your mail if you go out of town, who gossips a bit but has good intentions. Sadie Hoffmiller is actually the woman who brings you a cake and judges how clean your house is, who gathers your mail and tries to steam it open and who gossips about you and comes up with a good intention after.

Sadie's in her kitchen when she notices suspicious activity at the neighbor's house. She goes to investigate, as one does, and finds her neighbors body. Rather than cooperating fully with the police, she decides to investigate on her own, even though there is no reason to suspect that the police can't do their jobs. Sadie's reason is that the victim was her friend, which gives her enough cause to snoop through a crime scene, go to the victims' lawyer and try to get dirt, spy on her neighbors and boyfriend and get herself arrested.

When Sadie was arrested, I laughed. Not because the author had struck a particularly clever turn of phrase, but because she deserved it. She hid evidence from the police multiple times, lied to everyone she knew and if anyone didn't automatically agree with whatever outlandish idea she had, she thought smug, judgmental things about them and wrote them off immediately. Even when she found out the evidence she had willfully withheld would have helped the police capture her friend's murderer earlier, she didn't feel remorse.

It's clear that the author is trying to create a witty, sarcastic character that you love because of their faults. It would work, if only the character had qualities other than faults.

Rating: Underbaked and overly sour. Don't bother. To read an example of a lovable but grating character done well, try Parnell Hall's Puzzle Lady books.
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