Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Amazing characters, great set up executed well
Cons: Um, um, um….
The Bottom Line:
New body pops up
Odelia still delightful
Book ends way too soon
Odelia Delights Again
Odelia Delights Again
Some ideas are so obvious jumping off points, it’s a wonder we don’t see them more often in mysteries. A Body to Spare, the latest Odelia Grey mystery by Sue Ann Jaffarian has one such great idea. The set up for the mystery is wonderful, and the execution is even better.
Odelia’s day was filled with miscellaneous errands including a quick stop at the car wash. When the attendants pop her trunk, however, that all changes. Back there, they find the naked corpse of a man. Taped to him is a note with two words on it – “Found Me!” Who was the body in her trunk? And why would someone leave it for Odelia to find?
While the set up may be that simple, the places this mystery bends and twists are much more complicated. I’m avoiding saying more so I don’t spoil the surprises. I did guess one plot point early, but that hardly mattered since there were so many more I didn’t anticipate. And yet, the plot unfolded in a logical manner leading to an exciting climax.
The characters in this series are absolutely wonderful. It may be the Odelia Grey series, but it is so much richer than that. There’s her husband, Greg; her half-brother, Clark; her mother; a couple of police detectives; her best friend, Zee; and the list goes on and on. All of these characters are real and as much a part the patchwork quilt of the series as Odelia is. I absolutely love them, and the love and support they show each other is a huge part of that and the appeal of the series. Of course, the characters we meet along the way in this book are just as vivid and real to us.
Fans of Sue Ann’s Ghost of Granny Apples series will be delighted to learn that Emma Whitecastle, the main character in that series, has a cameo here. Yes, it does introduce a very slight paranormal element to this book, but it plays a minor part in how the mystery unfolds. And for fans of both series (like me), watching them interact was a blast and actually helped develop them both a bit. (And if you aren't a fan of paranormal mysteries, I sympathize. Granny is an exception for me, and I'm so glad I made the decision to read it even though it includes ghosts. I highly recommend you give it a try as well.)
As I was reading this book I realized something – this series is a comfort read for me. This is the second time over the years that I’ve been reading about Odelia when I’ve had a bad day. (Nothing drastic, just bad), and I’ve found my mood significantly improved thanks to escaping into Odelia’s world. It’s just that much fun to visit.
The fact that Odelia has my level of sarcasm certainly doesn’t hurt. Plus, Odelia’s mom steals just about every scene she is in. It’s not possible to sit and read this without cracking a smile if not laughing out loud.
I was so hooked on this book, I read almost all of it in a 24 hour period. Now comes the long wait until I can visit with Odelia again. Odelia’s fans will be thrilled with A Body to Spare. And if you haven’t met her yet, I cannot recommend highly enough that you drop everything and fix that today.
To fully appreciate the characters and their relationships, I highly recommend you read the Odelia Grey novels in order.