Friday, June 5, 2009

Review: New Cozy Mystery Stars Char!

The Dead Husband:
A Sally Sees Cozy Mystery
By R. J. Brown
Big River Press
ISBN: 9780979874475
272 Pages

I enjoy sitting down with a cozy mystery and a cup of tea. When you see the word cozy, you know that you'll get to know the characters very well, and that the main ones will continue into future books until you almost think they are your real friends. R. J. Brown's new series, beginning with The Dead Husband, promises to do just that!

Meet Sally Collier! The primary character of The Dead Husband is a wonderfully gregarious and funny char with a sharp eye for detail, "sees" things differently than the average person, and yet reveals a caring, loving side with her clients, her gals and her friends. I can definitely see a series with Sally as the "star char!" Yes, I said char--for Sally Collier heads up Sal's Gals and they handle most of the cleaning services in and around their area.

Have you noticed that most tv commercials and programs about facilities cleaning use know, as Sally points out in her very much needed glossary, Americans use "Brits" to identify "anyone from anywhere in the UK." Brits seem to have a great reputation for their housekeeping abilities. And, no wonder! They had to learn early what to do in a flat or bed-sitter--when clinkers needed removed, how to deal with the loo, and to take care of that bung hole! No wireless was permitted, and they often had to work in the scullery and be responsible for all things related to the midden! From what I can see, the only thing they had going for them was that they could stop and have a loverly tea in the afternoon, after serving the Missus of the house, of course, and were regularly paid every fortnight!

Frankly I wouldn't mind having a char visit my little log cabin about once a week!

And I could just about promise to never have a dead husband around for my char to find!

For that is exactly what Sally found when she went to clean the home of Mel Birnbaum! Mel had been buried at the bottom of their garden and had been discovered by their dog Borscht (who later became Porsche, but you'll have to read the book to find out why) after Sally had found him locked in a room without water and food and had let the poor dog outside to take care of his business.

Sally has a good reason besides finding the body, for becoming involved in this murder. Her "Man" George is the Jefferson County Chief of Detectives, so when she calls him to report the body, George is the one who later requests that Sally shares what she "sees" in the house and garden. As you might have guessed, after she points out all of the unusual issues she knows are different from her last visit a week earlier, the crime scene staff are called back to go over the scene much more carefully. Yep, you guessed it, it is her help that results in solving the case!

R. J. Brown is funny and just may be sharing some of her personal history in The Dead Husband. If so, readers have the advantage of getting to know both the author and Sally Collier, both at the same time. Be assured she will invite you to join her for a cuppa, and might even tell you the whole story if you have the time! If not, I highly recommend you order a copy and add R. J. Brown to your Trackle list so you won't miss her next book! I'm already waiting!

G. A. Bixler

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