Saturday, May 25, 2013

Book Review: Set Sail for Murder by R. T. Jordan (Polly Pepper Mysteries #4)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun with colorful characters
Cons: Plot was obvious
The Bottom Line:
These fun characters
Could have used a better plot
Fun, but not the best

This Cruise Will be Anything but Smooth Sailing

My go to gal for over the top, comedic mysteries in the last few years has been Polly Pepper.  This character is a Hollywood legend trying to live off her glory days from her musical variety TV show.  Think Carol Burnett ramped up a few notches.  Set Sail For Murder is the fourth book in the series.  While it is still over the top fun, the plot suffers a little.

The hard economic times have hit everyone, even Polly.  Her investments have tanked, leaving her with little income for her Champaign habit.

That's when Laura Crawford calls.  Laura was one of the co-stars on The Polly Pepper Playhouse, and she wants the entire four person cast to reunite on a Kool Krooz.  This cruise company specializes in cruises with appearances by celebrities that aren't quite as famous as they used to be.  It would mean a free vacation and a pay check for Polly.  And so she agrees.

Dragging along her usual entourage (son Tim and best friend/main Placenta) along, Polly boards the Intacti, trying to ignore the anagram possibilities.  The reunion with her co-stars is a bit rocky since Laura wasn't that popular with them even when they were doing the show.  But it's still a shock when Laura is murdered the first night of the cruise.  Polly immediately wants to find out who did it.  But will she find the killer before the cruise is over?

I mentioned over the top, right?  Because that's the only way to describe our main characters.  Take all the excesses you've heard about Hollywood and you'll find them in the characters of this book.  And since the cast is made up even more than normal of Hollywood stars, there's plenty to go around.  The fourth main characters, Polly's boyfriend Randy, is missing this time around, and his gravity is missed.  Frankly, things do feel a bit more over the top than normal in this book, but that might just be me.

As I mentioned earlier, my real frustration with this book was the plot.  While Polly has never been an ace investigator, she spends most of the book jumping to conclusions while ignoring the clues right in front of her.  I had just about everything figured out by the half way point.  Okay, so part of that was just because of how the story was structured, but I still found it frustrating.

But I did still enjoy the book.  The larger than life characters provided plenty of humor.  The writing was smooth, allowing us to easily get lost in the world of the cruise ship.  And there is just something about a cruise ship that is immediately appealing, even if there is a murderer aboard.

Set Sail For Murder isn't the strongest book in the Polly Pepper series.  It's still fun, but I do wish the plot had been more mysterious.

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