August 26, 2014
Froth: Bubbles that form in or on a liquid, or something that is appealing but that has no serious value or interest.
First things first. Just ask anyone who knows me...go ahead ask. Does SidneyKay like first-
person narrative? After the shudder from the crowd the answer will be a resounding no. Well, guess what A Little Night Murder is written in! First person! Which shouldn't come as much of a surprise to me - really - in that most of the murder/mystery stories I've read they are first person. So when I opened this book, all it elicited was a slight groan followed by a sigh, then I plunged into the book. I will admit, the first person narrative didn't really bother me that much because the relationship between Nora and Michael had already been established. Sort of. What did bother me? This is the 10th book in the Blackbird Sisters series and I found myself lost in trying to catch up on all the relationships. What I thought might be a murder/mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie turned out to be something more along the lines of Rizzoli and Isles. In fact, that's what kept crossing my mind as I read A Little Night Murder - "you know, this would make a really good TNT/TBS/NetFlix/Lifetime series." While the writing was funny in spots, I found all the characters running through the book rather chaotic and a big distraction from the crime. I suspect if I had read this series from the very beginning, I would be a big fan, but I didn't. I came in on the 10th book and it doesn't stand alone well, but that's my problem.
Amongst all of the characters that inhabit this book, and there are a lot, are Nora; her fiancé, Michael; and her sisters, Emma and Libby. There are Blackbird relatives and Michael's relatives who show up. Then there are an assortment of friends, and since I've never read any of the other books in this series I don't know their relevance to the scheme of things. Then there is Nora's boss, Gus... more on him later. Separate from these characters are the characters who I believe are only there to be murdered or be suspects of same said murder. And, this batch of characters are a whacky bunch, especially the woman whose skin has turned blue (and she's trying to produce a play). But really, for me the murder/mystery story seemed to take a back seat to all of the rigmarole that was circling Nora Blackbird. That is one of the reasons this mystery didn't work so well for me - there was just too much chaos surrounding Nora. Maybe it was supposed to be funny, maybe not, but I did find it irritating.
Speaking of irritating, let's talk about Gus, Nora's boss. Nothing screamed sexual harassment more than this jerk. I'm not sure if we were supposed to think his antics were manly-alpha-male funny stuff or not, but if I had been Nora I would have filed numerous suits against this man. He was too close to being a possessive, stalker kind of guy for my taste. And, he's her boss. He knows all the Human Resources laws that are out there, or at least he should. I have a feeling he's going to show up in future books, because he has a hankering for little ol' Nora. I found Gus to be really creepy and not a character that I found anywhere close to a charming alpha bad boy.
I also didn't care for the cliff-hanger sort of ending. SPOILER ALERT! Will those wedding bells ever ring for Nora and Michael? Yes, I know this is a series and it appears to be a continuous series, but I like closure in the stories I read, and there isn't any reason Nora and Michael couldn't be a man and wife detective team.
For other people this book may be what they are looking for. It was not a heavy-duty, scary, dark mystery. It was a more Sex in the City fluffy-frothy mystery, and that may work for some people. I might have enjoyed a froth-filled mystery if more of the book had been dedicated to the mystery, but there was too much peripheral drama surrounding Nora for me to truly enjoy this book. Sorry to say, A Little Night Murder was a disappointment.
Time/Place: Current East Coast USA