This past week I needed to read, but not too hard so I had a look at some of Joanne Fluke's cozy mysteries.
I had seen some movies on television, the Murder She Baked Mysteries, and liked them (sometimes you just want to watch something on television that is itself another sort of vacation from the norm... Hallmark is good at those, though I didn't like their whitewashing of Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden Mysteries).
I thought the books might be interesting too. "Not really though..." if you have read some of them you would get my little pun there. Hannah Swensen, our protagonist, was working on getting a masters degree in English Literature but gave it up to to take care of her family after her father had passed away. She loves to bake so she opened up a cookie bakery and coffee shop, and solves murders on the side. She has sisters that she helped to raise, a mother that nags her to get married (because Hannah is close to her thirties) and a cat she rescued who has specific needs. There is also a love triangle between her, a cop and a dentist. At the end of most chapters is a recipe for a cookie or dessert that was mentioned in the previous chapter.
So there you have your formula. Presently I think there are twenty-one books, but I decided to stop at the Peach Cobbler Murder (#7) after Fluke made what I consider a colossal blunder. Not that I wasn't already bored with the love triangle, the nagging mother, Hannah's endless mental grammatical corrections of the people around her (which just smacks of her personal sense of superiority) and these endless recipes ( it's just really boring for a vegan who has no intentions of making them, and I also think it's a hinky way to fill out an otherwise too-short chapter).
Back to the colossal blunder (with comments from me in parentheses) :
"Methinks the lady doth protest too much." (says Hannah)
"That's Shakespeare, " Andrea ( little-not-as-smart-as-Hannah-sister) announced, stopping at the curb to wait for a car that was driving by.
"I know. It's from MacBeth. " (says all-knowing almost-a-masters-degree-in-English-literature Hannah!)
"Do you really think Vanessa Reads Shakespeare?" Andrea asked, missing the point entirely (yeah... because big sis is just so much smarter!).
"Not without moving her lips," Hannah said.
Aargh! I stopped, did a triple take (yep I went back and re-read it three times to make sure I had read what I thought I had read), and decided to stop reading this particular author. I want to point out right away that this quote is a blunder because it is from the play Hamlet not Macbeth (and since I have read the play Macbeth twice in the past year and seen two of the movies and got an A+ in grade twelve English for my essay on Hamlet) I think I have a firm grasp of who says what, and where. I would also like to point out that I don't feel superior to anyone else for knowing that. This is not the first thing that bugged me of course. But after reading that, I thought back a little over the other books I had read and there are quite a lot of character flaws in this character. Of course, I also wondered how many other examples like this I may have missed because I was just skimming these books without really paying too much attention to the content? Which introduces some other questions of which some are really paranoid so I won't mention them here! There is a reason why I don't spend a lot of time reading this formulaic type of book. They get boring fast, and in these days of easy publishing I don't think they are edited as rigorously as they ought to be.
It was a vacation from reading anything too challenging, but it was like one of those holidays you take in Mexico where you eat or drink the wrong piece of food and end up with Montezuma's Revenge!