Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Death, Bones, and Stately Homes by Valerie S. Malmont

Malmont, Valerie S. Death, Bones, and Stately Homes. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003.

Tori Miracle and her friend Alice-Ann stumble upon some bones in the springhouse for a home that will be on the historic tour for the first time this year. Alice-Ann convinces Tori, against Tori's better judgment, to keep quiet about the bones until the tour is over since the springhouse will be closed to visitors anyway. I have very mixed feelings about this mystery. The characters are developed enough. There were some I liked better than others. I'm just not convinced that the outcome could have happened nor am I convinced that the deputy acting as chief while the chief was out of the country had the intelligence to resolve the murder. He certainly did not display aptitude at anytime in the investigation itself. He kind of reminded me of Barney Fife. There are frequent references to what happened in earlier installments of the series, so it is probably a series that should be read in order, although I did not do so. My biggest criticism of the book, however, has to do with the series labeling as "A Tori Miracle Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery." There are no horse-drawn buggies; there is no lack of power lines; there are no Yoders, Keims, or Schrocks. There are dolls dressed as Amish sitting on a shelf of a hardware store. If that's as Amish as one can get, it's very misleading. I realize that the Pennsylvania Dutch country is overly commercialized now, but one still sees parts of that culture if one knows where to go. If these mysteries are going to call themselves Pennsylvania Dutch, they need to reflect that culture a bit more.  (2.5 stars out of 5)

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