Author: Carole Buggé
Series or Standalone: Series (A Claire Rawlings Mystery)
New York mystery editor Claire Rawlings spends her days scrutinizing the motives and methods of fictitious criminals–but her precocious thirteen-year-old friend Meredith Lawrence has a keen eye for the cold, hard facts of crime. So when Meredith comes to New York to visit, the two mystery buffs put their heads together to sleuth out the truth about a real-life murder. When Claire’s star author, the ferociously flirtatious Blanche Dubois, is found dead after eating a poisoned apple, there’s no shortage of suspects. Many who knew her were jealous of her success–and just as many were put off by her haughty, demanding demeanor. With the help of a city detective, Claire and Meredith question Blanche’s friends, colleagues, and relatives–and discover that even in the Big Apple, the world of murder is a very small world indeed.
I received a copy of Who Killed Blanche DuBois? from the author in exchange for a fair and objective review. I approached the book with the thought that I wouldn’t like it. As an avid reader of the horror and thriller genres, I didn’t think the book would have enough to keep me engaged. This book was a pleasant surprise.
From the first page, I found immersed in a world filled with authors, editors, and Blanche’s disgruntled family members. Most of the characters presented in the book had motive to kill Blanche. Like any good whodunit novel, the author provides us with a lot of clues, many of which turn out to be red herrings, and a cast of interesting characters.
The protagonist, Claire Rawlings, is a book editor by day, reluctantly drawn into solving Blanche’s murder by 13-year-old Meredith Lawrence, an immensely intelligent and perceptive girl who stays with Claire on a semi-permanent basis. Also, despite having a boyfriend named Robert, Claire finds herself becoming increasingly attracted to Wallace Jackson, the disheveled police detective assigned to Blanche’s murder.
The book does not move at a breakneck pace, which I usually find off-putting, but not in this case. The author does an excellent job at character development, especially with Claire Rawlings, Wallace Jackson, and Meredith Lawrence. I actually grew to care about the characters, warts and all. Toward the end of the book, I found myself genuinely wishing that two characters in the book would become romantically involved. Also, the plot was filled with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting, and the ending was totally unexpected.
Bottom line: Who Killed Blance DuBois? is a fun read. It’s a cozy little mystery with great plotting and character development. I found it hard to put down, and when I did put it down, I often found that I was anxious to get back to it.