The First Pearl Party Mystery
The concept of MURDER OF PEARL is great. Protagonists trapped in a spooky house with a bunch of strangers while a storm rages outside and then someone is killed. Super. I've always thought it would be great to have a party based business as sleuths in a cozy mystery. After all the seller is in homes of various people, getting new people to kill and be suspects easily. I've enjoyed the first books in two other series by this author so I was expecting a wonderful read. Sadly, I was wrong.
There were too many characters and even with the character listing at the front of the book it was hard to remember who was who along with their relationship to each other. You don't need 16 primary suspects! Then there were the servants. Who knows how many were there? The butler suggested moving the body (seriously?) and a maid brought food. We know nothing about them other than the fact that they appeared fine with the murder and police being unable to come. They could have been suspects, but were completely disregarded. One problem that compounded every other issue was that everyone was unlikable (aside from the servants who were given no personality at all) including the protagonists. Kelly and Jodi aren't even antiheros, they're just grousing, self absorbed nitwits.
The actions of everybody were ridiculous. You just eat a big meal, a
woman is murdered, and after going to your room you decide to go to the
kitchen to get snacks?!? Seriously? And just how big was that bag of
popcorn? They were eating it for ages.
Perhaps the author was crossing genres and was writing MURDER OF PEARL as a farce. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as a written piece, although it could possibly work on film. The over the top behaviors just don't translate into the written word, merely coming off as ridiculous. There is a fine mystery here if you can overlook the personalities of the characters and when you ignore the nonsensical behaviors.
An amazing mansion and a complex mystery fail to save MURDER OF PEARL. Full of promise, the first Pearl Party Mystery fails to deliver.