Friday, November 11, 2016

100. "Time and Chance: An Iowa Murder Mystery" edited by Barbara Lounsberry

Lounsberry, Barabara (ed.). Time and Change: An Iowa Murder Mystery. Cedar Falls, Iowa: Public Radio KUNI, 1998.

188 pages.

Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love

SYNOPSIS: Charlie runs an inn in the small river town of Bella, Iowa. When three people end up dead, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery that likes of which Bella has never seen before. This book is a "serial novel" meaning it was written by 17 different Iowa writers. The writers have a wide range of backgrounds and experience and each writer contributed one chapter to the novel.

WHAT I LOVED: I loved reading something written by Iowa writers who were so clearly having fun with the project. The delight of the writing process shown through in each chapter with tongue-in-cheek Iowa references and moments that made laugh out loud. The book is filled with Iowa references from cities, institutions, traditions, and history.

WHAT I LIKED: I liked that there was continuity in the book, despite being written by 17 different authors. I was more than willing to give this book some wiggle room when it came to consistency of character or style, and was pleasantly surprised that there were very few issues with this. The few I could find didn't really stand out of pull me away from the story.

WHAT I COULD DO WITHOUT: You know, I love a good murder mystery, but I couldn't take this book that seriously. I think this is because you could tell the writers weren't taking themselves too seriously. I can appreciate it this based on the goal of the book. They were writing it for fun, not to write a best seller, but it made my commitment to the story wane.

RECOMMEND FOR: Anyone who wants a fun, quick, read full of Iowa references.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Serious mystery readers who want something of substance.

2 darts out of 5

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