Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Murderous Glaze - Melissa Glazer

A Murderous Glaze
A Clay and Crime Mystery
Melissa Glazer
Berkley Prime Crime


For the past five years, fifty-something Carolyn Emerson has been living her dream by running her very own pottery shop and studio, called Fire at Will. During those years, she has accumulated a group of regulars, known collectively as the Firing Squad. She has also, unfortunately, acquired a dead body. This dead body is a very recent addition, and belongs to one Betty Wickline, a woman who was roundly disliked by virtually everyone who knew her. Sadly for Carolyn, someone killed Betty in her shop at a time when the shop should have been locked and deserted for the night.

To her shock, almost everyone immediately believes that Carolyn is the killer. This, despite the fact that Carolyn has lived in tiny Maple Ridge, VT all of her life and has not a blemish to her name. But, the fact that the body was found in Carolyn’s shop is enough to dry up business to the point that Carolyn and the Firing Squad decide that, unless they take matters into their own hands, the real murderer will never be brought to justice.

I had a very hard time believing that everyone in town would instantly turn on an upstanding lifetime resident. The truth is, though, that the characters here do not act in believable ways. Many of the characters, Carolyn in particular, seemed to swing from aggressive and snappish to contrite and teary in just a few lines. It’s disconcerting, to say the least. There are a few odd plot holes, such as wondering what a suspect's voice sounds like when he’s yelling, when he did just that a mere twenty pages earlier. And, most annoying, a key element to the motive is never explained at all.

On the very bright side, this debut novel in a new series sports an interesting cast of characters in the Firing Squad. There’s a reference librarian, a mother of five, a college student who would prefer to be a potter, a retired judge, and a man with a shady past who now claims to be living on the right side of the law. This is a great mix of people, and with some polishing, they could really shine in further ensemble stories.

Rating: 4
November 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21836-5 (paperback)


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