Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Book Review: Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein (Poppy McAllister Mysteries #2)




Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery, plenty of fun
Cons: Slow start, some characters annoy
The Bottom Line:
Sleep walking, murder
Combine in fun mystery
Overcomes slow start




Was the Murder the Result of a Snack Attack?

I’ve never experienced anyone who sleep walks, however, years ago, I did spend the weekend with a sleep talker.  That was quite interesting.  I couldn’t help but think about that experience while reading Midnight Snacks are Murder, our second visit with Poppy McAlister.

It’s been a few months since we last checked in with Poppy and her aunt Ginny.  In that time, they’ve almost finished the renovations needed to turn Aunt Ginny’s house into a bed and breakfast despite not having the most competent contractor.  Things hit a speed bump when Poppy’s mother-in-law, Georgina, comes to visit and begins causing more havoc as a result.

However, the real news is the rash of break-ins that their neighbors are having in the middle of the night.  The culprit takes a nick knack or two and snacks on something in the kitchen.  Poppy is horrified to discover that this is the result of Aunt Ginny’s new anti-anxiety medicine.  But even worse is the murder that takes place a couple of blocks away that otherwise looks like Aunt Ginny’s handiwork.

The victim is Brody Brandt, a complete stranger to Poppy and Aunt Ginny, but the police quickly zero in on Aunt Ginny as their primes suspect.  In an effort to clear her aunt, Poppy begins to dig into Brody’s life.  What she learns is that Brody seems to be completely two different people.  Who was he really?

Usually in a cozy mystery, the victim was a horrible person, which makes it easy to set up multiple suspects.  Sometimes, we do have the nice victim, and we are left to wonder why the person was murdered.  I enjoyed the twist here since it wasn’t obvious which Brody we were seeing was the truth, and which one would lead us to the solution.  This dichotomy keeps Poppy busy, once the mystery kicks into high gear.  I did feel the book started very slowly, with a little too much set up and focus on some sub-plots.

The characters in this book walk a fine line.  Some, like Poppy, I really like.  In fact, it is easy to root for Poppy to figure out the murder and save the day.  Then there’s Georgina, her mother-in-law.  I get that she is supposed to be funny, but I wanted to smack her more than laugh at her, and I wanted to yell at Poppy for what she was putting up with.  Aunt Ginny could be annoying as well, but then she’d turn around and do something that would truly make me laugh, so the balance was much better here.

And make no mistake, this book is funny.  I laughed multiple times as I was reading and smiled plenty of others.

But back to the characters.  The majority of the characters are very well drawn, which includes the suspects.  I could have easily seen any of them doing it before the final solution was revealed.  The love triangle introduced in the first book is still going strong here.  I definitely have a guy I’m rooting for, but at this point I’d be okay with either one, as long as it doesn’t drag on too long.

In addition to the bed and breakfast, Poppy is making gluten free and paleo goodies for a local coffee shop.  We get several of those recipes at the end of the book, and they sound delicious.

My complaints really were minor, and I had fun reading this book.  Midnight Snacks are Murder is a light-hearted mystery perfect for a late summer vacation.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your review, Mark!

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  2. I used to walk in my sleep and I still occasionally talk in my sleep. My son does it too and it's definitely unnerving! This book is on my TBR and it sounds really good! I do like when the victim is awful but it is a nice change when it's a nice person and you're really left wondering just who would want them dead.

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