Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews *****

For all you cozy mystery readers, you will enjoy by The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews. Set in rural Virginia, Meg Langslow and her eccentric family are once again on the trail of a murderer. This time the victim is her long-lost grandmother, who unfortunately died just when her father hired a private investigator to track his mother down.

Since cozy mysteries tend to eschew violence and maintain a low body count, they often have a strong secondary plot to fill the space between the opening murder and the closing reveal. In this case, this central plot is the rescue of feral emus. What could be more fun then rounding up emus in the hills of western Virginia. You won't be disappointed.

As all the loose ends are tried up in the final chapter, I'm reminded how fiction is so different from real life. There seems to be a demand that writers minimize the number of characters, thus few are introduced, or given many words, unless they are part of the story.

As a young reader, I first noticed this with Dickens, but this practice can be traced back to Sophocles and Oedipus, certainly the gold standard for single characters filling multiple roles. If this type of neat conclusion is your cup of tea, this book has a most satisfying ending.

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