The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Murder with Reservations, by Elaine Viets

I’ve long thought of Elaine Viets as one of the better “brain candy” mystery writers, and I have enjoyed her Dead-End Job series quite a lot. When I finished this book some weeks ago, I did not feel enlightened, more knowledgeable, a better person, enriched, or any of that good stuff. Instead, I felt like I’d jammed strawberry-flavored salt water taffy into my brain.

Sometimes, you need a brain full of strawberry-flavored salt water taffy. This is a book for such times. Viets does her research on the dead-end jobs. She does the work herself or trails people doing the work or both. So there are job details. But this is still brain candy.

And what is Murder with Reservations about? Well, the Dead-End Job series tells of Helen Hawthorne’s attempts to make a living while evading her angry ex-husband, who has a fairly substantial court judgment against her even though she only destroyed his precious car after finding him in bed with another woman. And with Google, we can all find out everything about everybody, so in order to remain undetected, Helen has to take some low-wage jobs where she’s paid under the table. In this book, she’s a hotel maid in Florida, where she’s resettled.

(Actually, at this point Helen would be wise to up and move to Montana, with another name change and dye job. Supposedly, there’s a pattern to where “missing” people go when they’re on the run, and Midwesterners like Helen tend to go to Florida. Then again, Viets herself is a Midwesterner who moved to Florida.)

Anyway … the body of another maid is found in a dumpster, there’s a cursed room, and Helen once again learns that people occasionally skip out on these dead-end jobs because they’re dead. Of course, she has to solve the crime in order to keep the police, her ex, and the real criminals from finding out who she is. By now, she’s gotten really good at that. Except this time, the ex has finally found her.

Brain candy awaits — buy this book to have on hand for the next time you need something light and insubstantial to read. You’ll likely enjoy it.

Now, since this blog is for animal lovers, I must talk about the various animals that appear in the book. There’s a parrot, Pete, who’s a regular character. Pete comes to no harm and is often amusing. Similarly, Helen has a 6-toed cat, Thumbs, who will live to see another day. And the dead maid’s cat goes without food for a couple of days, but that is rectified. However, she also misses her owner, which is briefly poignant. Anyway, this book is SAFE for animal lovers. Enjoy.

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September 29, 2009 - Posted by | beach book, birds, Book Reviews, cats | , , , ,

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