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Book Review: Checking Out Crime by Laurie Cass


I kept my promise (no matter how much I wanted to break it) and I finished what I hope is the last in this series. Yes, I was tempted to throw the book across the room.

As I left the small town of Chilson, Michigan, bookmobile librarian Minnie Hamilton, her trusty cat Eddie and part time clerk Julia are heading back to the library in the dark after yet another successful day of doing mobile library duties. However, on their drive, they avoid a head on collision and come across the body of bicyclist Brown Bernier.

Minnie learns that Brown has recently retired from the City of Chilson and before his retirement, had an altercation with Ariella Tice, who was fired prior. She blames him for taking away her pension, along with other young workers.

Following his murder, another body is found on the bike trail and Minnie assumes that Emily Acosta's murder has something to do with a "pick up" bike group and reluctantly joins the group. She also meets Detective Hal Inwood's wife, Tabitha, and the two of them join forces to try and solve the murders behind the detective's back.

Why Cass decided to introduce Tabitha in this installment is beyond me, but had she introduced this character earlier in the series, I think the series would have been much better. Here Cass was able to bring a little bit of comedy to something that is pretty predictable.

Anyway, the suspect list continues to grow, and Minnie is asked by Max Compton, a senior at the Lakeview Retirement Home to look into the deaths of two of his friends. They were co-workers and he thinks that there was some type of foul play since both died within days of each other.

She tells Max that she'll look into it, but as the calendar flips from September to October, she's more concerned about where her winter residence will be since she lives on a houseboat during the summer months. Her fiancé Rafe has told her that his house will be ready, but he never seems to be around due to the multiple school board meetings that he's been attending.

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And one of the other problems that Minnie has to try and solve is her co-worker, Josh, has asked his girlfriend to move in with him, but even though she wants to, her grandmother won't approve of it.

With all of this going on in Minnie's life (and she has to find a way to add more hours to the bookmobile) it seems like the book will never end, but thankfully it does.

Everything is wrapped up in a nice, rushed bow, forty or so pages after the killer and retellings of the capture happen.

Yes, I have been hard on this series, but once again, the underlying motive for murder was an excellent idea, but was truly wasted. It was one of those plots that was THE most original but was lost in a lot of nonsense.

I do give Cass credit though, because I never figured out any of the killers (because I didn't care) and once again, the timeline threw me off, there were multiple errors when it came to editing and the ending was just plain stupid.

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