Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review: The Fall of the Louse of Usher by Lisa Lideks and Mara Lideks

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Funny mystery with a good plot and interesting characters
Cons: Timeline not always clear (although always explained later)
The Bottom Line
Funny mystery
Despite some timeline issues
I recommend it

Poisonous Cooking Lost at Sea

When an author I like goes out of her way to recommend a novel, I pay attention.  And when she gets me a free copy to read and honestly review, I bump it to the top of my to be read pile.  That’s how I came to read the electronic book The Fall Of The Louse of Usher.  And I enjoyed it.

Emmy’s cooking is pure poison.  Both her sisters Wally and Brook agree on that.  But it’s not because the food will kill you; it’s because she includes too much rosemary in everything.  The only one who seems to enjoy it is Emmy’s contraband pet peacock.

Emmy is going through a divorce from Bronze medal winner Flynn Fairbanks.  A few days after a nasty and public fight, Flynn falls off a cruise ship after uttering the words, “It’s poison.”  And sure enough, poison is found in some soup that Emmy had given him before he left.  But she knows she’s innocent.  Can the three sisters band together to prove it?

Let’s get my one complaint out of the way first, shall we?  I am a nitpicker when it comes to timeline, and this book really messed with that a couple of times.  The worst was near the beginning when five days lapsed between scenes, and we weren’t told that until several pages into the next scene.  I have a feeling it was a stylistic choice that, at least for me, fell flat.

But it was a minor irritant to an otherwise enjoyable novel.  The plot was very well done with a new suspect popping up all the time.  Things really take off in the second half where the twists start coming.  I never saw the ending coming, but it perfectly wrapped up the mystery.

The characters are enjoyable as well.  The three sisters are very different and enjoyable in their own ways.  The rest of the cast is equally memorable, and it’s easy to keep them all separate in your mind.  I’d say the characters were right on the border between caricature and character, but that works because of the comic tone of the novel.

I certainly found the book funny.  Between some sub-plots and a few comic happenings connected with the main plot, we get Brook’s observations on the events.  All that adds up to a few laughs and multiple grins over the course of the book.  I even read a few sentences to my roommates one night, and even out of context they thought they were good.

Plus, how can you not love something that ridicules Wikipedia?

My complaint with narration timing aside, I really enjoyed The Fall Of The Louse of Usher.  I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun comedic mystery.

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