Series: Rebecca Robbins Mysteries #1
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by St Martin's Press on 28 September 2010
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Rebecca Robbins wanted to sell the family roller skating rink and get back to her job as a mortgage broker when a local guy, Mack, is found dead at her rink. She decides to solve the case as an unsolved murder is a turn off for buyers and the local police are too incompetent.
Rebecca’s investigation strategies are pretty simple. I had no problem with her wearing skin-tight or revealing clothes and flirting to get information but I did wonder why she chose to repeat everything she had discovered to the camel owning veterinarian Dr Lionel Franklin. She even says at one point “just because Lionel was hot didn’t mean he was trustworthy” (logical) but can’t help herself especially when he offers her an éclair (illogical). Even when he admits that pretending to seduce her for information was “worth a shot”, she continues to feed him info. I guess I was expecting slightly more from her given her occupation which involves considering facts and weighing up different options in order to get the best deal for her customers. Revealing key information about her investigation to a possible suspect and keeping the police out of the loop isn’t the smartest.
The secondary characters are quite two dimensional even though they all have at least one crazy personality quirk – I wish there had been a few more normals just to balance things out. Rebecca’s grandfather spends the entire novel hooking up with elderly women or talking about his conquests. The police are uniformly useless, more interested in jumping to conclusions or gardening. Lionel was one exception to the rule – we are positioned to see him as a future love interest for Rebecca but he’s fairly dictatorial or dismissive of her when he’s not trying to pump her for info. He also withholds key information (sharing is caring, m’kay). I’m assuming the fact that he used the exact same technique on Rebecca that she used on others was supposed to be ironic but it didn’t endear him to me.
I had a few problems with the plot. Rebecca suspected someone of being guilty but rather than finding a way for her to confirm her suspicions, Charbonneau has the baddie confront Rebecca and then share every single detail about why and how they committed the murder. I prefer my detectives to do the grunt work rather than have the answer just handed to them so this didn’t work for me. I wanted a few more red herrings thrown in as well so the path from victim to baddie wasn’t so clearly delineated. There is also an awful lot of telling rather than showing.
This book didn’t work for me which is a shame as I enjoyed Charbonneau’s Murder for Choir. I probably won’t pick up another one in this series as I couldn’t relate to the characters or the way the investigation unfolded.