Series: Glee Club #1
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Berkley on 3 July 2012
Reading Challenges: 2013 Bachelorette Challenge
Murder for Choir is the first in a Glee Club cozy mystery series. Some areas really sparkle while others need a bit more polish. Joelle Charbonneau capitalises on the Glee phenomenon which is something new for the cozy mystery world. Paige Marshall takes a job coaching a high school show choir as her opera singing career has stagnated. The choir gig isn’t turning out how she had hoped as some kids and her co-workers don’t think she can cut it as a coach. Things degenerate from there when a rival coach is murdered and one of her teenage tenors is suspected of doing the deed.
I liked Paige as a character. Her reasons for investigating the crime were fairly flimsy (as is the case with most cozy mysteries) and her interference could have jeopardised the detective’s case but at least she had the foresight to share her knowledge with the police…after the event. She interrogates the suspects but seems to miss the fairly obvious one in front of her face. One of my pet peeves is when a character is repeatedly warned to stay at home, avoid the investigation etc but throws themselves into it instead. At one point Paige’s life is genuinely in danger so I would have appreciated a little more introspection on whether it is really worth investigating or better to let the trained police handle it. The aunt is suitably eccentric with taxidermy dogs strewn around the house and it added colour to the novel.
I thought the love triangle could have been handled with more finesse as the old ‘he can’t really be interested in me as other people reckon he is gay’ trope was not really necessary nor was the ‘I know I shouldn’t get involved with you but I can’t help but kiss you repeatedly’ trope. There are other ways the relationships could have been explored which would have been more effective. I also hope we aren’t left in limbo with Paige’s opinion for too many novels as that sort of indecisiveness is irritating.
Where the novel really shines is the description of music, show preparation and characters that are willing to do anything to succeed in this fickle business. Charbonneau clearly knows her stuff. The mystery had some good red herrings but the killer was fairly easy to identify. At least it was a fun journey waiting for Paige to catch up and work it out.
I enjoyed this book despite the familiar tropes and am looking forward to seeing how the next one turns out. I would like a bit more glee club in future novels as Charbonneau does that aspect quite well.