Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Review: Miss Dimple Suspects by Mignon F. Ballard

Miss Dimple, a teacher in a small town during WWII has to help a Suzy, a young Japanese woman, prove her innocence after the woman she has been nursing is murdered.

Miss Dimple Suspects has all the ingredients for a good cozy mystery: It's historical, set in a small town, and has an unexpected and intrepid sleuth. I expected to like it a lot more than I did. As it is, I enjoyed it, but not to the extent of wanting to run out and find more books in the series.

Its primary strength is also its great weakness: It's very much a community book.

On the plus side, there's room for a lot of friendship and sharing. Miss Dimple knows most of the town and several different people help her in her quest to clear Suzy's name. There's almost always at least one person willing to drive her out and to stand guard while Miss Dimple searches. Miss Dimple herself is nice enough and sensible enough that I could easily believe these people would listen to her and be willing to give the Japanese woman the benefit of the doubt, even in the middle of World War II's paranoia.

On the negative side: There are a lot of women in this book, and, although past events are mentioned, none of them gets a very clear introduction. I had a hard time keeping track of everyone, and I found the peripheral players particularly hard to track, and sometimes got quite annoyed when yet another person bearing jam and gossip walked through the door.

There's also one persistent side-issue that keeps popping up and is eventually solved through an unbelievable coincidence. I might try an earlier volume sometime, or I might not. The book never really reached the "I must find more of these books" level of interest, more the "I'd like to be fair and give Ballard another chance" level. We'll see.

Other Reviews
Dru's Book Musings

Got one I missed? Let me know and I'll add it to the list!

Links of Interest
Mignon F. Ballard's Home Page
Miss Dimple Suspects on Amazon.

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