Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Drip Dead - Christy Evans

Drip Dead

A Georgiana Neverall Mystery
Christy Evans
Berkley Prime Crime


There’s a lot going on in Georgiana (Georgie) Neverall’s life these days. She’s in the final stages of studying to get her plumber’s license; her mother, the indefatigable Sandra, is turning into a bridezilla planning her wedding to slick real estate mogul Gregory Whitlock; and Georgie is planning on buying her mother’s house (her childhood home) once Sandra moves in Gregory’s brand new McMansion. It’s that last bit that has Georgie wriggling through the crawlspace under her mother’s house. If she’s going to buy the place, she might as well use her plumber’s knowledge to check out the state of things.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, while she’s under the house, she finds more than pipes. She finds a stack of shipping crates and the body of Gregory Whitlock. Now both Sandra’s house and Gregory’s house are considered crime scenes, so Sandra temporarily moves in with Georgie. The arrangement is more temporary than expected when, within days, Sandra ends up in jail, accused of killing Gregory. Georgie never really liked the man, true, but she’s more than sure that her mother is no murderer, and intends to prove it.

The set-up for this story is great. The narrative hits the ground running, with Georgie finding the body in the first few pages. Then, sadly, the book degenerates into a bunch of sit-com situations with Sandra and Georgie living together for a couple of days. Once Sandra is in jail, Georgie searches Sandra’s laptop for evidence. She finds hidden files, but various circumstances keep her from even looking at the files for most of the book. If your mother is in jail, awaiting trial for murder, I don’t think much would stop you from actually looking at those files on the laptop.

For the first time in this series (SINK TRAP, LEAD-PIPE CINCH) I found Georgie to be strangely ineffectual and borderline unsympathetic. I felt that much of the book consisted of filler and contrived, frustrating delays in examining readily-available evidence. The mystery itself was quite linear and, despite a few names thrown into the mix late in the proceedings, the whodunit completely unsurprising. In contrast, the setup was more than solid, and there were some really interesting and fun scenes scattered throughout the book, bringing in various characters who already feel like old friends to the reader. The writing and characters are engaging. If the plotlines were less simple, this series would really be a winner.

Rating: 5 ½
February 2011
ISBN# 978-0-425-23989-6 (paperback)


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