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Review: A Murderous Glaze by Melissa Glazer

a murderous glaze melissa glazer Review: A Murderous Glaze by Melissa Glazer

With A Murderous Glaze, veteran mystery writer Tim Myers has turned his hand (and gender, given that the books are written under the subtle pen name of Melissa Glazer) to a new cozy mystery series featuring curmudgeonly pottery shop owner Carolyn Emerson. One of the things that I've enjoyed about the cozy mysteries that I've read of late has been the almost magical ability of any hobby, interest, or occupation to be turned into something revolving around dead bodies, blackmail, and groan-worthy puns, and given that I quite enjoyed an art-related cozy I read earlier this year (review here), I had high hopes for A Murderous Glaze.

It seems to be a cozy mystery standard that the body should turn up fairly early on in the book, and A Murderous Glaze is no exception, as heroine Carolyn happens across the body on the very first page. Unfortunately, given the lack of context here, the whole situation is rather confusing and unanchored, giving the book a rather rocky start. These same problems are in evidence (pardon the pun) throughout the book.

The victim is Betty Wickline, although who she is and why she should turn up dead in Carolyn's shop is never really made clear: it seems that Carolyn's only previous interaction with the woman extended over only a few moments during which Carolyn somehow developed a sense of animosity towards her. Sheriff John Hodges, a rather unlikeable chap by nature, immediately casts Carolyn as the prime suspect, and given that the two both have strong and snappy personalities, they spend rather a large part of the book hurling insults and glares at each other. However, the murder is bad for business, which is something that needs to be remedied ASAP, so when Carolyn is done engaging in abrasive repartee with the sheriff, she sets off to interrogate various individuals from a pool of suspects so large that it deserves its own lifeguard. The book meanders quite a bit as a result, as scarcely any of the suspects have motive or reason to have committed the murder, and it takes until the last fifty pages or so for Carolyn to have the idea of establishing an alibi for each of her suspects. Once this is done, things wrap up faster than a frazzled parent on Christmas Eve: the murder is solved very abruptly in one page'the last page.

While I liked the idea of a snarky middle-aged heroine, the reality became somewhat frustrating after reading scene after scene in which Carolyn bites back at whomever has wronged her. In addition, while the small Vermont town where the book takes place is fairly well drawn (including lots of shops with the requisite punny names), the characterisation of the other players is also very broadbrush: there are some potentially interesting people sketched out in the book, but none of them ever really come to life, which has implications for the strength of both the narrative and the mystery.

200px 2.5 stars.svg  Review: A Murderous Glaze by Melissa Glazer

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