Thursday, December 2, 2010

Accessory to Murder by Elaine Viets

Book: Accessory to Murder by Elaine Viets

Series: Book 3 in the Josie Marcus: Mystery Shopper series

Published: 2008

Extras? Yes, information about mystery shopping, as well as details about shopping for accessories.

Plot (Goodreads):
Someone has killed Halley Hardwicke, the hot young designer of thousand-dollar Italian silk scarves, in the mall parking lot-and police have their eye on Jake, the husband of Josie's best friend Alyce. The couple lived near the wrap maven, but it seems Halley and Jake were a little too neighborly.

So Josie decides to do what she does best to help out her friend-go undercover and see if she can find some clues. Because this time, there's a lot more at stake than a scarf, even if it's to die for...

Rating: B

What worked: Elaine Viets knows how to write a cozy mystery. The characters are fleshed out and I particularly like the female relationships (Josie and her best friend Alyce, Josie, her mom Jane, and her daughter Amelia). The story was interesting--there were so many potential villains I honestly had no idea who did it until the very end of book.

Oddly, I used to occasionally mystery shop a few years ago. Viets does a good job pointing out the pluses and minuses. It would have taken a TON of work to make a full-time jobs worth of money but I did enjoy it. My favorite jobs were mystery shopping a local bank for mortgage brokers--they always did excellent (so I could write positive reviews) and I learned a lot about mortgages. The best part, as Viets points out, is the spy-like experience and the feeling that you can make a difference.

What didn't: The books (the Mystery Shopper and the Dead-End jobs) are starting to feel a little formulaic. I almost feel some reverse snobbery oozing through the books--rich and expensive equal phony and poor or middle-class are superior. Plus every man ends up being a crook or a loser.

Caution: SPOILERS! (Whited out for those who don't want to be spoiled)

And how did Amy the Slut know an important plot point? I just couldn't figure that piece out (although, admittedly, that is a small detail). It was also very difficult for me to believe that a middle-aged white woman could pass as a teenaged African-American without anyone noticing. I mean, really.

No comments:

Post a Comment