Friday, July 8, 2016

THE FINE ART OF MURDER by Emily Barnes [Book recommendation]

Book obtained from: Library New Books shelf, audio book

Description: Widowed police chief Katherine Sullivan turned in her badge and is now pursuing an interest in art in Taos New Mexico. She returns temporarily to her hometown in Minnesota to support her recently-divorced daughter and her two grandchildren. While there, she is drawn in to a murder investigation.

Plot: While back in Minnesota, Sullivan visits an art museum. The next day, the employee she spoke with at the museum is found murdered. Prior to retirement, she was the chief of police, and certain current officers ask her to help with the investigation. She teams up with another retired officer, butts heads with the current chief, and solves the mystery.

Characterization: Katherine Sullivan is well developed and very grandmotherly to her daughter and two grandchildren. However, she does NOT strike me as a very competent police officer. She shuns back-up and puts herself into potentially dangerous situations without much concern for her own safety. I don't see a real former police officer doing that. Her grandchildren were a teen boy with Asperger Syndrome [I have one of those, the characterization was well-done] and a girl who is portrayed as a typical cell-phone-dependent teen, although I don't think she protested nearly as much as she should have, when subjected to having her phone confiscated. The other retired officer was nicely characterized.

Setting: Minneapolis MN. Well described.

Other: The mystery was good, and I enjoyed reading a main character who is older than the norm, but it's hard to get past the notion that Sullivan acted so far outside what I would think a typical police officer would do, endangering her safety etc. Just because a person retires, I'm sure all the previous training is not forgotten or discarded.

Overall: This is a nice cozy mystery, if you can get past the character problem. The book is narrated by Carrington MacDuffie and she did a great job.

Grade: B-

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