Thursday, September 10, 2015

Murder on the Bucket List

Author:  Elizabeth Perona
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9780738745091
Midnight Ink Publishing
336 Pages
$11.51; $9.59 Amazon
July 8, 2015
Three Stars

The septuagenarian women of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club have gathered in secret late one July night to check skinny-dipping off their bucket list.  But as Francine observes, the jittery members seem more obsessed with body issues and elaborate preparations than actually stripping down and getting in the pool.  A pungent smell emanating from the pool shed provides a perfect distraction.  When a dead body flops out, it's an answered prayer for Charlotte, since the first item on her list is to solve a murder.

Unfortunately for Charlotte and Francine, before they can discover who really killed the man, they must negotiate neighborhood tours of the crime scene, press coverage of their skinny-dipping, an angry homeowners' association, a disastrous appearance on Good Morning America, media offers sought by a hungry publicist, and a clever killer.


There is a group of five senior female friends - Francine, Joy, Mary Ruth, Charlotte and Alice - each with a Bucket List.  One night at one of the Alice's home, they decide to do one of the items on someone's list, which is skinny dipping; and are going to do so in Alice's pool.  But soon they discover a nearby shed that holds a dead body, and since solving a mystery is on another's bucket list, they decide to help Charlotte, another lady, do just that.  What ensues is each of the ladies having a chance to do one of the items on their bucket list, and in doing so, ferreting out clues (and a few secrets) regarding the murder along the way.

There were several things that just went wrong - one scene (SPOILERS AHEAD) where a television anchor has one of the women in Francine's home, cooking for a show...using Francine's ingredients, pans, etc...without asking Francine if it were alright - and then, when someone is injured, telling Francine that SHE can get sued to pay medical bills.  Say what?  You walk into a stranger's (to her) home, have someone just help themselves to whatever you have in the freezer, start cooking, and then try and tell them they can get sued?  You have it wrong.  The reporter - and friends - can all get sued for doing what they did.  What kind of person does that?  Walks into someone's home and just decides to "help" themselves to whatever they want?  In another scene, a thirty-something cop notices that one of the seventy-something women has a nice body...eeewww...and then allows these women to 'show' the place of murder to whomever they want - allowing people to trample all over the murder scene.  Really?  And I'm supposed to take this book seriously?

While this isn't bad for a first effort, it could have been so much better.  The plot was well-constructed, and the ladies genuinely seemed to be fast friends - but I didn't find the book as entertaining as I would have liked it to be.  I also would have liked to have seen character development in these ladies, but there wasn't enough.  I didn't understand the reasons they did what they did.  Most of the women seemed kind of flaky in their thinking, and the plot points just didn't seem to come together enough; it all seemed convoluted somewhat; however, I believe the author will do better in the second in this series; oftentimes the first effort leads to much better books in the long run, and I will continue with the series.

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