Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meditative Rose by Lynn Gravbelle

Publisher:             Alpha World Press

When Emily Fields is murdered the police suspect her partner Carla Reed, but Detective Bobbie Kerry doesn't think the woman is guilty, so she hires her friend and ex-partner Paula Graham to investigate the case.  Paula’s life fell apart when her partner of thirty years died and then she walked out on her next lover Elizabeth.  She left her job as a police officer in Boston and is finding it difficult to move on from any of this, so she devotes her time to her antique shop and investigating on the side.  As Paula delves into the case she learns about Emily’s friends and family, including her powerful father who hates lesbians.  Carla disappears, complicating the situation, but Paula is so distracted by her day dreaming about Elizabeth, that there is a serious question as to whether she’ll be able to find out who the real murderer is.  As she plows her way through a multitude of characters the real mystery is if Paula will be able to put aside her personal problems to do the job she was hired for.

Certain parts of this book are extremely well researched and developed.  Unfortunately, the research shows up in the book in irrelevant details about an autopsy, how to make Cloissone jewelry and needless side stories about the characters.  None of that has any relevance to the book at all and it clutters up the story.  Ironically, with so much information, the characters end up being flat and undeveloped.  More disagreeably, everyone in the book is always yelling at and hitting each other.  These people are supposed to be in their 40s and 50s, but they act more like children.  The book tells everything and leaves little to the reader’s imagination.  At times Gravbelle shifts person in the middle of a page and following the story is difficult.

Mystery lovers may find this book trying.  The plot remains suspenseful only because there is so much to plod through that distracts from the basic story.  The story itself isn’t bad, but the book would have benefited from a more discerning editor.  It’s lengthy and a shorter, tighter story would have made it a much better book.  One point in its favor, it has really nice cover art.

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