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Old 05-30-2011, 11:23 AM   #9554
ATDrake
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraceKrispy View Post
Now, for myself, I'd be crossing her OFF my Christmas party list by the time the 5th or 6th murder came along.
I think someone once crunched the numbers for the tv series Midsomer Murders and found out that the place had a murder rate which should have depopulated it within a few seasons had there not been a continual influx of new victims every episode.

I'm frankly amazed that more amateur sleuths aren't openly shunned by the people who live in their area ("Every year, another dead body", as a character in the Amelia Peabody books keeps saying), though within the boundaries of mystery conventions, no doubt the shunners would end up as convenient corpses for the amateur sleuth to trip over and solve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GraceKrispy View Post
I especially like the ones with recipes.
I have this terrible fondness for supplementary gimmick books. I'm a sucker for sf/fantasy which comes with fake language/culture guides in the back, and I kind of like those mystery/literary fiction books which have the recipes and the how-to-handicraft instructions and the occasional crossword puzzle* included as an extra, even if the novels otherwise aren't all that great.

Anyway, read the steampunk romance novella Photographs & Phantoms by Cindy Spencer Pape, which is a promo freebie from Carina Press, in order to determine if the tie-in novel was worth getting at 99 cents (currently on sale, along with several other unrelated 1st-in-series books) to support a DRM-free publisher offering a dirt-cheap discount in a genre I don't particularly care for.

The answer is "maybe".

It started off promisingly enough with the protagonists being put together to solve an ostensible series of mysterious deaths, and the world-building is very mildly interesting (a little too derivative Victoriana with magic and machinery additions, but I don't expect great imagination for a supergenre for which the setting is just an excuse to play out the genre conventions).

But the whodunnit was kind of obvious and contrived†, which made the story fall mildly flat if one is not overwhelmingly interested in the sexyfuntimes part of the story.

The setting is still mildly interesting and the sample for the series novel starts off with another murder mystery which looks like it'll have some attention paid to it, although I'll probably know exactly whodunnit well in advance of the official reveal if it follows the same cliché this-person-MUST-be-the-villain-just-LOOK-at-their-villainous-villainy trope.

* Apparently there is an entire series of gimmick cozies with just this bonus in each and every one; I've wondered if they've scattered Important Clues amidst the crossword ones.

† I've never particularly cared for the apparently moderately common romance trope that if there happens to be
Spoiler:
some character who is or imagines themselves to be a romantic rival for one of the protagonists
then they must automatically be
Spoiler:
the revealed-to-be-thoroughly-nasty culprit who's responsible for all manner of wickedness in retrospect and naturally resort to drastic and horrific last-minute emergency measures in order to thwart the course of Twu Wuv which naturally prevails in the end
because it's evil, EEVILLL, I tell you to even dare to present any vague possible obstacles whatsoever the Destined Couple and their Destined Coupling.
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