Monday, January 15, 2018

Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent

I liked the first mystery in Teresa Trent's new Piney Woods series. I really did, and I hope to read the next book. But, her stereotypes and comment about a senior really bothered me when I realized how old the character was. And, neither the author nor the amateur sleuth are young enough to make these comments. More about this later. If the comments won't bother you, you might enjoy Murder of a Good Man.

Nora Alexander was surprised with her dying mother's last request. She asked her to deliver a letter to Adam Brockwell in Piney Woods, Texas. Nora could have mailed it, but she drives from New Orleans to the town she never heard of, only to be almost run off the road before she reaches her destination. In Piney Woods, she finds a quirky little bed-and-breakfast with enchanting owners. But, she isn't so enchanted with the people she meets at Brockwell's house. His reaction to the letter stuns her, and, because she presented it unopened, she doesn't know what the letter says. When she asks, she's read a scathing letter that attacks Brockwell. It appears as if her mother hated the man. That comes as a surprise to others because Adam Brockwell is one of the top candidates for that year's Piney Woods Pioneer award for the best citizen in town.

When Brockwell is killed, the hunky police chief, Tuck Watson, looks at Nora as the only one known to hate the man. He asks Nora to stay in town. Desperate for money, she accepts a job helping Tuck's aunt restore a historic hotel. It gives her time to search for someone else who might have wanted him dead. Nora Alexander doesn't want to end up in prison now that she runs into people that know her mother's history.

Murder of a Good Man is an enjoyable story. The historic hotel shows great potential for future books. But, here's my issue with Trent's comments, and Nora Alexander's. Nora is thirty-three. Yet, when she and other characters discuss Adam Brockwell, they refer to him as "an old man", "a grizzled old man", "in his old age". I could accept that until about halfway through the book when a character says, "Maybe he wasn't as on top of his game as he used to be. The old guy had to be close to sixty." What the heck? What thirty-three-year-old views a man not yet sixty as old?

I'm sorry. I did like Murder of a Good Man, but at sixty, with an active mother over eighty, I don't appreciate the stereotype and the comments about age. Trent needs to examine her attitude and her characters' attitudes if she wants fans who are cozy readers.

Teresa Trent's website is www.teresatrent.com

Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent. Camel Press. 2018. ISBN 9781603816359 (paperback), 256p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

6 comments:

SandyG265 said...

I think I’ll pass on this one. Considering someone who’s 60 as old is a turn off for me and it’s not very realistic.

Lesa said...

You know, Sandy, I was enjoying the book until the comments about the age of the character. And, you're right. It's not realistic.

Lynn T. said...

Laura Bradford's emergency desserts series turned me off as how she portrayed the neighbors who were in the 70's. In fact, it turned me off cozy books for awhile It is a popular series though.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Lesa, thank you for saying what needed to be said. Bill Crider and I have been having a back and forth for years about news stories about "elderly" crime victims who turn out to be 63. That is NOT elderly!

And keep off my lawn!

Gram said...

As I am closing in on 80, I think someone who is 60 is just a spring chicken. Not a series for me either. Thanks for the warning.

Lesa said...

I don't think I would have even thought 60 was elderly when I was in my 20s, but then I had grandparents who lived into their 80s, and even 90s.

You're right, Jeff. It needed to be said.