Book reviews

Dead to Begin With (Country Gift Shop 1) by Vivian Conroy

Dead to Begin With (Country Gift Shop #1)Dead to Begin With by Vivian Conroy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This cozy mystery started promisingly, despite not breaking any new ground: middle aged heroine, check; over-bearing mother, check; cute dogs, check; twee hobby, check. It’s got some good characters and a nice setting. However, the mystery plot is a bit thin and I’m afraid became quite repetitive.

Separately, the book contained long speeches of awkward exposition, including explaining – surprisingly for a crime/mystery book – why the police don’t release all their information to the press, how alibis work and why the police shouldn’t let suspects escape…! Additionally, very little of the dialogue uses contractions, so it had a really stilted feel about it and slowed down any moments of tension.

n the end, the identity of the killer is quite a leap; they have no hint of motive until they helpfully explain it all at unnecessary length when preparing to kill their final victim. Without that there was no case, and their means, motive and opportunity was either extremely tenuous or simply not explained.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollinsUK for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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