Picture Perfect Murder by Jenna St. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ryli is a photographer working part time for both the local newspaper and the police, or so she is described. I don’t think she did any photographing – or work, for that matter – throughout the story. When the town’s school superintendent is brutally murdered, Ryli goes around with her friend and her aunt asking everyone where they were when it happened. Meanwhile she lusts after the hunky police chief. There is no explanation for why she chooses to do this “investigating” and she fails miserably at it, putting herself in danger not once but twice in quick succession by failing to see the obvious attempts the murderer is making on her life. The cover bills it as a “daring and hilarious cozy mystery.” It was nowhere close to daring or hilarious, although I think I smiled once or twice while reading it. It was, however, a cozy mystery with the usual elements: female non-professional protagonist, lots of talk about the women’s outfits (and I mean lots), cooking, and interior decorating, a cute pet, and zero knowledge of police procedure. The one difference from the usual cozy, however, is that here Ryli does not turn out to be the strong, confident woman who solves the mystery; she turns out to be a blubbering incompetent who has to be rescued by the hunky chief.
The best I can say about this is that it was inoffensive and worth the 99 cents I paid for it. It got me through a dull day when my electric service was off for maintenance. Lovers of good writing are warned to stay away. The writing is ham-handed, cliche-ridden, and in need of a good proofreading.