Saturday, April 13, 2013

Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

cover of Strangled Prose by Joan Hess
I do like mysteries, and one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Peters had commented once that she enjoyed the mysteries of Joan Hess. Why? Because they have the touch of humor that Peters herself puts into her books. I had only read one of the Hess books that was set in Egypt, but I thought I would give the Claire Malloy series a try. What better place to start than the beginning of a series? That means that I got Strangled Prose on my Kindle, and gave it a go. I was not disappointed. Claire Malloy, book store owner, with teenaged daughter, Caron, was introduced in the story. Claire was coerced into giving a book signing party for her friend, Mildred Twiller, who wrote smutty romance books under the pseudonym Azalea Twilight. When the contents of the book were revealed at the signing, and a few faculty, including Claire's deceased husband, were revealed as offensive characters in the book, Claire was understandably angered. Claire didn't think anyone knew that her husband was involved in a tragic car accident while on his way to a motel with one of his students. When Mildred was strangled after the party, Claire was one of the key suspects. Will Lieutenant Pete Rosen arrest Claire, or will they work together to discover the murderer and the mystery behind the book?

I really did enjoy the book. There were several laugh out loud moments in the book, and the mystery was nicely plotted and revealed. i did guess that whodunit, but I didn't get the whole story behind why before it was revealed. The characters were interesting, and I found myself rooting for Claire and her daughter, Caron. Also, since I did read one of the more recent books in the series, I did know that Pete Rosen would play a huge part in Claire's life. The book was a winner, and I'm excited to know there are 17 more in the series. Plus Joan Hess wrote the Maggody series, and I'll have to give those a try too.

I do have some additional comments about the book in Kindle format. I would imagine that the original digital content may have been lost, if it ever existed. The book was published in 1986, so the publisher may have scanned print content. Because of that, there were several instances of misspelled words throughout the book. Granted, it was easy to figure out the correct word from the context, but it just showed a sloppy disregard for the transfer of the book into digital format. I expect much better from current publishers.

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