Thursday, March 13, 2008

Motif for Murder: A Scrapbooking Mystery by Laura Childs

I have read most, if not all, of Laura Child's books. In general, I really like them. They are good light beach reading. You could give them to a kid or your grandmother and not worry about offending any one. And, in both of her series, The Tea Shop mysteries and the Scrapbooking mysteries, you learn a bit more about her topics. She always includes tidbits and facts that make the stories more interesting.
But, I have to say, I was not enchanted with Motif for Murder. I found it to cliché, hurried, and not terribly imaginative. The story revolved around the kidnapping of Carmela, the series heroine's, on again off again husband Shamus. Carmela runs off to the bayou where she saves her husband and then they delve into the death of Uncle Henry. First, I hope that no one would be stupid enough to chase after a possible kidnapper and have the random luck of saving the kidnapping victim because no one else happened to be home. Second, the reality of finding the house and the kidnappers in the middle of the bayou seemed farfetched and unlikely at best.
Third, one of the main cruxes of the mystery they explain on the back cover of the book. Childs sets it up so the reader is supposed to wonder why the scrapbooking store was broken into. However, had you read the back cover you would already know the answer to the question.
This is the first book to have been written post-Katrina. On the one hand it was nice for Childs to acknowledge the hurricane and the affect that it had on the people of New Orleans. On the other, what she did discuss seemed tacked on, more or a marketing ploy or a last minute inclusion rather than a conscious incorporation that had any impact on the story.
I have to wonder if Childs is either getting tired of her scrapbook series or is so busy churning out books that she has destroyed her inspiration and creativity. I will pick up her books again, but after Motif for Murder there are not books that will be on the top of my reading list.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

That's really unfortunate! I love her books usually, but haven't gotten to this one yet. (Still working through the pile your mother sent me and I've only read the first of the scrapbooking series so far.) Maybe she's just writing too many damn books these days.....