Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: nice, but not so pretty as I am used to with cozy mysteries. Why is there no snow in the picture?
Most folks aren't forced by court order to attend a library-book discussion group, but that's just what happens to B and B proprietor and ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright, hippy cat lover Chandra Morrisey, and winery owner Kate Wilder after a small-town magistrate has had enough of their squabbling. South Bass, an island on Lake Erie, is home to an idyllic summer resort, but these three ladies keep disturbing the peace.
The initial book choice is Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, and that sets their mouths to watering. The Orient Express is the island's newest Chinese restaurant. They might not agree about much, but the ladies all love the orange chicken on the menu. But their meal is spoiled when the restaurant's owner, Peter Chan, has the bad fortune of getting murdered. Now, with Christie as their inspiration, the League of Literary Ladies has a real mystery to solve…if they can somehow catch a killer without killing each other first.
After something happened to her in New York, Bea Cartwright has moved to South Bass, an island on Lake Erie, where she has opened a Bed and Breakfast in an old mansion. Bea really does not get along with her new neighbours at all, and when the local judge has had enough of their endless fights, he sentences them to a weekly bookclub, to learn to get along. And to safe his wife’s precious library from losing their funding.
Bea is from New York, and is working hard to get her B&B ready for opening. Kate owns a vineyard, and really dislikes all the trucks coming and going to the B&B, making noise in front of her house. Also, the B&B is a monstrosity of a house, and she really would have preferred it to be demolished, and the land used for her vineyard.
Chandra is some kind of New Age woman, burning incense, chanting, loudly playing music no one else likes. And Bea hates her because Chandra’s cat keeps peeing on her flowers. So they all dislike each other and now have to play nice.
Their trio is augmented with a fourth member, who really does want to belong to a bookclub, Luella Zak. Their first item is to pick a book to read, and that choice is limited to books the library has 5 copies of, and books they all have to like. Bea is adamant about not wanting to read a thriller. And so they settle on the classic Agatha Christie – Murder at the Orient Express. Only Chandra does not want to read the book, she will watch the movie instead.
And so the ladies quickly leave the library again, intent to continue with their own lives. Somehow, they all end up at the Orient Express in the village, the new Chinese Restaurant. Where they find the owner murdered.
With the snow storm going on worsening, cutting power to big parts of the island, all four ladies and some other guests end up in Bea’s B&B, where there is still power and warmth. They decide to figure out who killed Peter, using the book as a guide on how to go about it. The local police officer doesn’t care much for their opinions, especially as he is Chandra’s second ex husband.
Another new cozy mystery series, and unfortunately, another one that just did not work for me. There are a lot of hints about Bea’s past adventure with a stalker, but nothing is just plain explained. I hate that. It has no bearing on the book either, so why not just tell us? The possible love interest for Bea does know her story as he recognizes her.
There were lots of clues in the book, and the ladies just overlooked them or jumped to the wrong conclusions. I did not foresee everything in the book, but I did see a lot coming.
There was nothing for me to like about Bea, Chandra or Kate. Only the hardworking fishing woman Luella, I did like her and how she sometimes took charge of the bickering trio.
The book itself is well written, and well paced, but for me it just lacks some things. I need to be able to connect with the main characters, and care for what happens to them. I won’t be reading anything else by this author. If you are intrigued by this, just read some other reviews and give it a go.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian