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Book Review: Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass

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Sometimes, I wish that I had an accessible wall by me when I read a book. Okay, maybe half a wall.

As spring tries to settle in in northern lower Michigan, Minnie Hamilton is way too anxious to move out of Aunt Frances' boardinghouse and back onto her houseboat for the warmer months.

But she needs to find a killer amongst the residents and tourists of Chilson.

Local maple syrup maker, Henry Gill, is murdered in the woods, while his friend, Adam Deering has a massive heart attack while trying to help him. The only thing Adam remembers is that there was someone else in the woods.

Adam's wife, Irene, manages to get on Minnie's bookmobile route and when she meets Adam, she finds out that he's self-employed as an accountant and after finding out that he helped put a tax evader behind bars, Irene worries that Henry's death was meant for Adam.

It sounds about right since a car nearly strikes Adam and a tower of falling bricks nearly hits him as he leaves a doctor's appointment at the hospital.

While Minnie is trying to figure out who might be after Adam, she also has to plan a bookfair that her boss, Stephen thought would be good for the library. Even though Minnie thinks the bookfair is a good idea, she's overwhelmed with planning it and learns how to delegate and save money on the fair.

As the Michigan weather fluctuates, she decides to leave her aunts before the applications for the summer come in. Plus, her Aunt Frances needs to do some repairs at the boardinghouse so she thinks it would be a good idea to get the houseboat ready.

After getting the houseboat lake ready, she and her cat Eddie, move aboard and on the first night she nearly freezes to death since it's still too cold to be on the water.

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Not only does she have to contend with the cold, but she has to take a look at her relationship with her doctor boyfriend, who's moved downstate to learn/further his career. Although they haven't seen each other in months, she decides to end the relationship when he's offered the chance to go out west for a weekend, a weekend that he said he couldn't make it back up north.

However, as Minnie takes on other chores the bookfair comes together until a freak storm hits (for that area of Michigan and time of year, it would be a freak storm) causing Minnie to scramble for a new venue.

Following the bookfair, Minnie receives an unknown call from the killer (but the phone number shows up on her caller id, which doesn't make sense) and after finding out that Eddie's been kidnapped, she goes to the killer, against the 911 dispatchers' advice.

As I've said before, Cass does tell a good story, but it's too long. I kept getting lost in it since she goes in and out of flashbacks and I found myself scratching my head too many times (and I'm not yet halfway through the series).

Again, there were too many characters (most of which are minor) and when something happens to Minnie, she retells the story which slows down the actual story.

Once again, the ending was too long and could have been edited a little bit better (and there are, once again, grammatical errors- but I'm not a member of the grammar police). In fact, another good thirty to forty pages could have been removed.

Otherwise, Cass does do a good job with talking about the syrup making process (I don't think that I've come across any characters who have made syrup in the crimozy genre) which helped with learning something new.

The series is still good and really, who wouldn't want to live on a houseboat?



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