Monday, February 25, 2019

Something Read, Something Dead (A Lighthouse Library Mystery #5)

Author:  Eva Gates
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781683319504
Crooked Lane Books
320 Pages
$21.51; $12.99 Amazon
March 13, 2019

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Winter falls on North Carolina's Outer Banks as Lucy Richardson and her friends joyfully help her favorite cousin, Josie O'Malley, plan her wedding.  The owner and head baker of Josie's Cozy Bakery and her fiancé, chef Jake Greenblatt, want a small, simple wedding.

But to their horror, Josie's imperious grandmother, Gloria, descends with the "Louisiana Mafia": a gaggle of aunts and cousins who intend to take control of the wedding plans.  Gloria doesn't do small and simple, and cousin Mirabelle has her own ideas for Josie's wedding, something grand and lavish - and paid for by Josie's parents, of course - that will kickstart her fledgling event planning business and get her work shown on the covers of wedding magazines.  To make matters worse, Mirabelle focuses her full Southern charm on the prospective groom...and Jake doesn't seem entirely adverse to her affections.

To smooth the waters, Lucy hosts a bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library.  But it turns deadly when Mirabelle collapses - soon after eating the gluten-free treats Josie prepared specifically for her.  Now, to save her favorite cousin from prison, Lucy will have to bring a crook to book.

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Lucy Richardson's cousin Josie is finally getting married.  She and her friends are planning the wedding, which will be a simple one.  But they aren't counting on Josie's grandmother Gloria to come swooping in and change everything to the way she wants it.  Along with Gloria is her daughter Mary Anna, and nieces Mirabelle (who is in the wedding) and Florence.  It seems Florence and Mirabelle have an events business, and Gloria has decided they will plan the wedding.

Mirabelle is nothing if not obnoxious, and begins changing things to her liking, including changing the "colors" to one Josie can't stand.  It doesn't help when Mirabelle meets Josie's fiancé Jake she immediately begins flirting with him.  After a disastrous meeting between everyone, Josie gets angry and storms out.  Later on, she mentions how she'd like Mirabelle to be 'bumped off' in front of Lucy and her boyfriend Connor, who is also the mayor.

But during the wedding shower Mirabelle is taken ill and dies at the hospital.  Suddenly Josie's words come back to haunt her and it looks as if she might be the only person of interest.  It doesn't help that the library has a problem with its foundation and needs to be repaired but the money just isn't there, so it's in danger of being permanently closed.  Now Lucy has two things to worry about, but first and foremost is finding out who killed Mirabelle so the wedding can get back on track.

With Lucy and her friends hot on the trail of a killer, she'll need to stay on her toes if she wants to find out the truth and keep herself alive...

The first thing I have to say is when a story begins by irritating you, it doesn't bode well.  Josie's grandmother is past overbearing, and during this, her mother is worthless.  After years of being married, she still won't stand up to her.  First of all, if I was getting married and someone decided to “plan” my wedding, I’d ask them who was getting married.  If they said, “you are” then I’d tell them, “Glad you remembered that.  Since you acknowledged the fact I’m the bride, you can also acknowledge the fact that I will do the wedding my way, and if that doesn’t sit well with you, you know where the airport is.”

I'm not saying the book doesn't get better and eventually someone doesn't stand up and take control, but it goes on far too long for my liking.  Not to mention Lucy doesn't have a backbone either.  I've never understood why books need to have an "evil nemesis" in them to be a good book.  Yet Louise Jane comes in, pushes Lucy's buttons, and Lucy winds up apologizing - for doing nothing.  It's time Lucy grew a spine where Louise Jane is concerned.  It doesn’t make the book an enjoyable read; it's just annoying.

As for much of the rest of the plot, let's put it this way:  Would you want to be in a room listening to a bunch of catty women sniping at each other, while one of them constantly spent her time pointing out your many flaws and doing whatever she could to get rid of you?  Add to that weepy women who proclaim how much they love each other?  Well, I don't.  And that’s much of what this book is, unfortunately.  (Trust me, I'm all for strong female friendships, but everyone sitting around while one is getting pushed around and not saying anything?  Nope.)  I also didn't understand why Aunt Ellen didn't tell Florence to leave her home immediately after she found out that Florence was telling tales to the police about her daughter.  A woman like that wouldn't sleep one more night under my roof.  See what I mean?  No backbone.

As far as discovering the murderer, I found that pretty easy.  I knew who it was by the second chapter of the book; but watching Lucy put it all together took quite a bit longer.  While the ending of the book was satisfactory, and it all came together nicely, I just didn't care for the fact that some of the women were allowing themselves to be pushed around by others.  A decent book, but I felt that it could have been better.

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