Do you ever go on a streak? I’m talkin’ about a season when you find your spare time focused on doing one thing. Sometimes it’s movie watching for me, other times it’s video games. Right now, I think a book reading streak hit me. I’ve finished two this month! The latest is a cozy mystery. Here are my 99.9% spoiler-free thoughts.
I never thought I’d be into cozy mysteries; then again I had never tried one. But last year I stumbled upon this genre in a trilogy by Cheri Baker. I ate it up! (It was the Kat Voyzey series.)
Baker is at it again this year with her newest cozy mystery set of books. I knew I wanted to give’em a try and finally jumped in. This past weekend I read the first in the series called, The Case of the Missing Finger.
I purchased this cozy read on my kindle; love my paperwhite.
Sure, a missing finger doesn’t sound too cozy…until you consider more gruesome alternatives. This mystery is cozy like a massage. No foul language, no sex scenes, and no on-page violence.
Up front, my only gripes about the book are: first, there were several typos or similar minor issues while reading on my kindle. Second, I wasn’t sure where the plot was going sometimes. Yet I attribute that not to weak writing but to weak reading. In other words, I’m pointing the finger at my slow brain, not the author.
I should mention too that this story is written in the third-person, which I generally find harder to get into. Baker’s previous cozy series is in the first-person, so for me it has the edge for readability.
All that aside, there is plenty to like about the missing finger case!
Cheri’s new sleuth is a lady named Ellie Tappet. To be honest, I didn’t expect to connect with Ellie much. But I gave the story a chance. And I’m glad I did because I enjoyed it. I appreciate Ellie’s traits. She is probably the coziest character possible for this genre. (So far, though, I like Kat Voyzey’s quirky character better overall.)
The setting where the finger goes missing is one of my favorite parts about the story; it takes place on a cruise ship! That includes some shore excursions too. As I read, I couldn’t help but long to go on a cruise again myself. I’ve been on two 7-day cruises before and plan to go on one again next year!
So it was easy for me to imagine the scenes Ellie and the cast played in. I do wonder if it would be hard to picture things if you’ve never been on a cruise. But I think Baker described locations quite well throughout.
In fact, I was pleased with how well Baker’s visual imagery worked. The author’s writing in this regard was just right: neither too vague in description nor too verbose. It was just enough to set the scene or people and let the action take place.
One strong aspect I find in Cheri’s cozies – this book and the previous trilogy – is the wide cast of characters! There are always a lot of people involved. They’re fleshed out on different levels, but they all have the right depth needed to make the story work. More importantly, they keep you guessing.
The draw of any mystery is, of course, the “whodunnit?”
The Case of the Missing Finger is no exception. There were so many important people involved, I had no clue who to suspect! Cheri impresses with how well she balances the cast, in this case the cruise crew. Keeping track of who said or did or even wore what is a tricksy feat to pull-off. Baker has a talent for it. (The tight bunch of characters in the third Kat Voyzey book is a stand-out example.)
When I got to the final chapters of this very cozy mystery, I really liked the ending reveal! I was not just surprised, I was like, “Oh wow, this is…dude!” I’m sorry, but for fear of accidentally spoiling it, I just can’t use any other words to describe it.
As Cheri Baker has done in all three of her other mysteries, she brought yet another of her strengths to the closing of the missing finger story. The final chapters, which follow the solving of the mystery, wrap up all the loose ends and tie off all the characters’ major and minor story arcs. Baker is superb at this. She just does a fine job of it – makes me smile everytime.
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My preferred fiction genres are typically sci-fi or fantasy. But these cozy mysteries are growing on me. They’re wonderfully short and quick to read through. That’s a nice change of pace after trying to read heady books like Dune (I’m still not done with that one!). I’m a slow reader, so…
And you know what? I aint gonna lie. Reading fast books like this helps me reach my annual goodreads reading challenge!
Over on goodreads, I gave this book a 4-star rating.
The other cool thing about reading Cheri’s newest trilogy: I already know what my next good read will be!
I’m cruising with Ellie Tappet again in book two, The Case of the Karaoke Killer.