Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Book Review: A Date with Murder by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, & Jon Land (Murder, She Wrote #47)


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters we love; twists in the mystery
Cons: Ending not quite satisfying
The Bottom Line:
Cabot Cove murder
Jessica still in top form
Delight for her fans




Cabot Cove is Still Proving to be Deadly

Despite the fact that I’ve been a fan of Murder, She Wrote for years, I must admit I’ve never read one of the tie in novels to the TV show.  Oh, I’ve bought a few over the years, but I hadn’t actually picked them up to read – until now.  I jumped in with A Date with Murder, and I’m glad I read it.

It’s Labor Day, and that means that the entire town of Cabot Cove is at the Wirth home for their annual picnic.  Jessica Fletcher is enjoying hanging out with her friends and neighbors, especially Barbara “Babs” Wirth, who has become a good friend over the years.  The day ends in tragedy, however, when Babs’ husband Hal suffers a fatal heart attack.

Something about it doesn’t feel right to Jessica, however.  That feeling only grows when someone tries to warn her away from the Wirths and then a second body turns up..  Was Hal’s death more than it seems?

I have often defended the TV series, pointing out that Jessica actually traveled more than she was home for the murders that she solved on the show.  Having said that, the episodes set in Cabot Cove were always my favorites since I enjoyed the supporting cast.  As a result, I’m glad that the first book I wound up reading was set in this small Maine town.  I felt right at home and enjoyed catching up with Seth and Mort as well as Jessica.  I could easily picture the three of them as the book captures their personalities from the show perfectly.  A couple other supporting players from those episodes put in appearances as well.

The new characters felt like the guest stars from the episode.  I don’t know if they previous appeared in the books or not, but everything I needed to know about them was here for this book.  Because Jessica cared about them, I found them sympathetic and likable, and I got invested in the book as a result.

We are treated to a great mystery.  There were plenty of twists and surprises along the way, and I was completely hooked.  However, the book didn’t quite wrap up as well as I would have liked.  There was a chapter that was a lot of exposition – explanation we needed to fully understand how things had happened – but it felt slow.  Meanwhile, in the rush to wrap things up after that, a rather key plot point is overlooked.

Having not read any of the previous entries in the series, I was a bit surprised by the couple of swear words in the book.  I don’t know if this was a first for the novels or not, but they definitely didn’t fit within the world of the show for me.

On the other hand, I didn’t feel I had missed anything by skipping the other books in the series and jumping in here.  This is still the same Jessica we know and love from the series, and it was wonderful to connect up with this old friend.

Overall, I enjoyed A Date with Murder, and I’m kicking myself for not starting to read these tie ins sooner.  I will soon be making another date with Jessica myself and suggest her many fans plan to do the same.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner Tuesday May 8th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 5/8.  You will have until midnight on 5/13 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 5/14.

28 comments:

  1. Deadlier and deadlier but we keep going back to Cabot Cove! Lol

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    1. Nina: Cabot Cove is definitely the murder capital of the world, a fact I allude to several times in A DATE WITH MURDER, through Mort and Seth's banter with Jessica. Hope you enjoy the book and let me know what you think! Jon

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  2. Thanks for a great review and chance to win a copy of A Date with Murder.
    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

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  3. I love Cabot Cove!! I've read several in the series. Thank you for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

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  4. Thanks for the chance! 1darcysmom1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. I have such fond memories of my dad watching Murder, She Wrote. I think he had a bit of a crush ;)
    hobbit68@aol.com

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  6. I love Cabot Cove!!! joanie13b@gmail.com

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  7. I have always loved this show! Cabot Cove is a place I wish was real, as I would love to live there!
    Thanks for the great review and the giveaway!
    debprice60@gmail.com

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  8. Murder She Wrote is my go-to mystery series. MollieHuntCatWriter@gmail.com

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    1. So glad to hear that, Molly. I can't wait to hear what you think about A DATE WITH MURDER. You can reach me directly by dropping a message on my Website Jonlandbooks.com. Fingers crossed! Jon

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  9. I'm happy you were able to finally dive into the novels, they definitely add another dimension to our favorite detective. I have read several of the tie in books, but not this one. Sonyuhann@gmail.com

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    1. Sonya: I'll be very interested to hear what you think! It's my first effort writing the MURDER, SHE WROTE mysteries so the comments of readers like you are as important as any review. You can reach directly by leaving a message on my website, jonlandbooks.com. Jon

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  10. Love love murder she wrote! I love awesome mysteries I love how she can tell who the killer is, I watch murder she wrote everyday! They are the best mystery books out there!!!! Love Cabot cove it sounds like an amazing town!! Maryh_happygirl@yahoo.com

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    1. Mary: I hope you continue to enjoy the series with me behind the pages, instead of Don or Renee Bain. Don was a great writer and a great person and I wish I'd known him better. Taking the reins of MURDER SHE WROTE is both humbling and exhilarating. Let me know what you think by leaving a message at jonlandbooks.com Jon

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  11. I'm glad that this series is continuing after Mr. Bain's passing. He did such a wonderful job, and it's nice to see that his legacy is continuing with Mr. Land. I've read several in this series, and really enjoy it - it's funny because I "hear" Angela Lansbury narrating the book when I read them. :-)

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    1. Oops - nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com :-)

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    2. Nicole: Here's hoping my carrying the torch leads to a seamless transition and that you enjoy A DATE WITH MURDER, and all my efforts, as much as you did all the others. Let me know by dropping me a note at jonlandbooks.com. Jon

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  12. I love that there is finally a new Murder She Wrote book. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. vlhcat (at) gmail (dot) com

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  13. It sounds really interesting I need to read it, I’m new.donamaekutska7@gmail.com

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  14. I love Murder, She Wrote! areadingmum@gmail.com

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  15. These are always such solid stories, I have kept up and read them all! Thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. Thanks for the drawing stoeser1@pie.midco.net

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  17. Donald Bain's last? Would truly love to read it. valeriehorowitz@gmail.com

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  18. I felt the same about this and it was the first I've read as well. I was surprised with how enjoyable of a mystery it was. I kind of expected this and other books that are based off a TV series to be kind of meh.

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  19. I love Jessica Fletcher and Cabot Cove. Would love to read the latest Murder, She Wrote book.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. Thank you for another great review. I also watch the show but have never read the books. Now I'm curious to check them out! mbradeen@yahoo.com

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  21. I love both the television series and the book series, but the books are definitely different. I was sad to hear about Mr Bain's passing last year. I have every confidence that Mr Land will do justice to the series if he chooses to continue on with it. Thank you for the wonderful review, I'm looking forward to reading A DATE WITH MURDER. konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com

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