My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I think that when your see a tons of reviews on the cover saying how funny something is it sets you up, maybe unfairly. This was literally the most unfunny thing I’ve ever read that was meant to BE funny. At best, Arly Hanks, chief of Maggody, is mean spirited bordering on cruel. Granted I haven’t read much of this series so maybe it would have helped if I knew the characters better but as it was, there isn’t a jack one of them I want to know better. I found them all dim witted and misogynistic except maybe Arly herself.
Arly’s mother Ruby Bee and her friend, Estelle (not that you could tell they were friends in this, that’s how mean they were to each other), go on a cut-rate tour following Elvis’s footsteps. While they’re gone, Arly is busy with a fundamentalist Christian preacher who thinks Satanists are breaking in and using his church (and wants nothing to do with a woman who dares to have a job) and is called on to run interference between two Buchanons as the new mom seems to have postpartum depression. By the way neither of these two things have a damn thing to do with the main crime. Again maybe I would have cared if I knew the players better but as it was, it was a major distraction from the main plot.
Speaking of which, the main plot resolves around Ruby Bee and Estelle on the world’s worst Elvis tour and takes nearly 100 pages to show up. One of the people on their tour seems to suicide off a hotel balcony but the local sheriff, Sanderson, believes it was murder and he thinks it was Jim Bob, Maggody’s mayor who was at the hotel-casino to meet his mistress who was on the tour. In the mean time, Ruby Bee falls seriously ill and is hospitalized bringing Arly into the picture. As much as she doesn’t like Jim Bob, Arly doesn’t believe he could be a murderer and even when she’s attacked for something in her mother’s room, Japonica, the deputy, won’t even believe her in spite knowing Arly’s a police officer.
Everyone seems very incompetent from the villains to the police. In fact, they’re at the level of bad at their job I expect in a cozy where the amateur has to step in and take over because of the incompetence. Between the alternating points of view (Arly’s in first, everyone else in third) dealing with aspects of the story not relating to the crime, characters I don’t care about and a wisp thin plot, I only gave this a second star in deference to it’s a long running series with people who found some merit in it. I did not.
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