Murder for Choir

Title: Murder for Choir

Author: Joelle Charbonneau. She is the author of several books for adults and young adults. This is the first in her Glee Club Mystery series.

Genre: Mystery

Readers: Lawyer Abby R., policy wonk BakingSuit and teacher Ninian.

Summary: Even as a struggling opera singer, Paige Marshall has never seen anything like the cutthroat competition of the Prospect Glen High School show choir. Coaching these championship-hungry students may be her toughest gig yet…

Especially when her best young male singer is suspected of killing the arrogant coach of Prospect Glen’s fiercest rival. To clear his name, Paige will have to sort through a chorus of suspects, and go note-for-note with a killer who wants her out of the spotlight for good.

Abby R.

As a fan of Glee (first season) and a lover of fluffy whodunits, I wanted to like this book so badly. And, in theory, it seems like it should be likeable — a charming enough lead, some well-written quirky side characters, show choir shenanigans … but despite these elements, I found myself really underwhelmed. Maybe the killer was too obvious from the outset? Maybe the heroine was a bit too bumbling/meddlesome for her own good? I definitely spent a significant portion of the book alternating between mentally cringing for her and screaming for her to Just. Stop. It’s a fine book, and a quick read, but not one I would necessarily recommend to others – and I probably won’t be reading future installments in this series.

Grade: C

Read instead: Anything in the Diane Mott Davidson “Goldy the Caterer” mystery series, but specifically Dying for Chocolate, Killer Pancake, or The Cereal Murders — while they are similar in concept (amateur detective solving mysterious killings, fun supporting cast, woodsy-smelling gruff policeman/love interest), I think they are much more enjoyable, and each book includes some delicious recipes!

 

BakingSuit

This book was cute and a decent read, but I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a good book or worth going out of your way to read. It had it’s moments of humor, drama, a few small twists and a little bit of love which made it a quick read, but I felt like it was trying too hard to be a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich. I couldn’t help but feeling like it was the younger cousin of the cool girl trying to shine by mimicry, when really had she been herself, people would see how cool she was.

If you’ve never read a Stephanie Plum novel and you like cute mystery books then you may like this one. If you’re a fan of Evanovich, skip it.

Grade: C-

 

Ninian

I was so looking forward to reading this book. I love murder mysteries, especially old-fashioned Christie-esque whodunits. And, I like recurring characters in murder mysteries, so this seemed a perfect match. Sadly, this book did not hold my interest at all.

It was an okay mystery, I suppose, but I didn’t warm to any of the characters, I thought the “love interest” confusion was obvious from the beginning and the main character’s inability to recognise what was going on made me dislike her even more. In novels, ordinary citizens who solve murders are supposed to be keenly intelligent, able to make leaps of logic that enable them to find out the real killer before the plodding detectives can. I didn’t find this character to be intelligent at all. I found her a bit irritating and ditzy and not in an endearing way. Further evidence of my lack of enjoyment of the novel is my inability to recall the main character’s name.

Sadly, there is nothing I can put my finger on to point to why I didn’t enjoy the novel, it just didn’t grab me. I found that I didn’t care which of the characters was the murderer, I didn’t particularly warm to anyone in the novel and I found them all rather flat.

Grade: C-

 

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