Tag Archives: Mystery

Mourning in Miniature by Margaret Grace

I was first introduced to the Miniature Mystery series of books a few years ago at a time when I least expected it: I was visiting the local craft shop. I was chatting to the store owner about how I was looking for supplies to build furnishing for my dollhouse. Next thing I know she was telling me about a local writer, Camille Minichino, who built miniatures and also wrote mystery books under the pen name, Margaret Grace. She gave me a copy of the first book, Murder in Miniature and I was on my way to becoming a fan.

Later that night I cracked open a copy of the book and entered the world of Lincoln Point, a fictitious Bay Area town that, based on the description, sounds an awful lot like Castro Valley except it’s located on the Peninsula (i.e.: Silicon Valley) near Palo Alto.

Other than the fact that she gets herself involved in horrid murder investigations, the main character Geraldine Porter (“Gerry”) is right up my alley. She is not only a retired school teacher and grandmother to 10 year old Maddie (I have a sweet spot for old ladies, seeing as how I’m practically one myself) but she is a miniature enthusiast. Each book in the series features a specific miniature project Gerry or one of her friends is working on that gets tied into the story.

In the most recent book I read, Mourning in Miniature, the project is a miniatureMourning in Miniature replication of the hallway lockers in the local high school where Gerry first taught. It was created by a friend and member of the local craft group, Rosie Norman in honor of her upcoming 30 year reunion.

As I write this I realize I have a lot in common with Rosie Norman. First of all, I too am looking forward to my 30 year high school reunion this year, although I haven’t constructed a miniature model of my locker – yet! In addition to this, like Rosie I am a bit on the frumpy side, love miniatures and also love to read. I also like to hang out with old ladies.

Luckily this is where the similarities end because by chapter 4 Rosie is the main suspect in the investigation of the murder of the high school football star. Since the football star from my high school is a great guy (his signature phrase is: “Love ya! Nade Cali Style!) I think he’s pretty safe from an unlikely demise at our reunion. Also, if I was the suspect in a murder investigation, I don’t think I’d have a great friend like Geraldine Porter to try to clear my name. You’ll read have to read the book to find out whether or not Rosie really did it.

I pride myself in being able to pin the killer before the main character does in some of the mystery books I read but this is one that had me stumped till the end. In addition to the mystery, we also get a new character that may or may not present a little romance for Gerry. Seeing as how she is a widow with a precocious granddaughter and an active crafts group, I’m sure Gerry could use a little romance. I’m looking forward to see where it goes in the next book, Monster in Miniature.

Overall, I think Mourning in Miniature was a great read. I give it a classic Mrs. B.

Mrs. B rating classic

Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian

A few years ago when I stumbled upon a paralegal podcast featuring Sue Ann Jaffarian I stopped in my tracks. At last, I thought, I’ve met my virtual mentor. Sue Ann is not only a full-time paralegal; she also writes mystery novels on the side. I’m not a big mystery fan but when I learned that Odelia Grey, the heroine in Sue Ann’s popular series, was a paralegal I knew I had to give the books a try. I started with book one of the series, Too Big To Miss, and it hooked me right away.

The book opens in the grocery story with plus sized Odelia Grey comfort food shopping. I loved Odelia right away because her voice was funny and real. I could identify with her on so many levels. I could even understand how Odelia gets involved with the murder of her friend, Sophie London.

In addition to the exciting elements you’d expect from a murder mystery, Too Big To Miss has underlying themes about body image and self- esteem. Sophie was a plus sized model and also ran a support group for large people called Reality Check. Even after her death, I saw Sophie as a beacon of strength for Odelia who was determined to find the murderer.

I’ll be honest. It’s been a few years since I read the book and I forgot who the culprit is. What I do remember, however, is the development of Odelia’s character. Throughout the book Odelia comes in contact with people who are outright rude to her about her size. Yet despite this she is able to go on and develops new found confidence. This makes her a hero in my mind. I doubt my ego could ever survive the mental abuse Odelia suffers.

If you are interested in exploring the mystery genre or you like chick lit I recommend you give Too Big To Miss a try. I enjoyed this and subsequent books in the series and look forward to reading more. I give this one 3 and ½ Mrs. Bs.