Divorced from her husband and business partner, Amanda Thorne is determined to become a success in the Palm Springs, California, real estate market, even if it means being forced to deal with impossible clients who love to give her details about their yeast infections. Thanks to many celebrities like Frank Sinatra and his "Rat Pack," Mid-Century Modern architecture is big in Palm Springs, and Amanda has just the mansion to reel in potential buyers. Problem is, when she arrives to conduct an open house for the area realtors, there's a dead body in the living room. Not the best way to show a house. Handsome Detective Ken Becker seems willing to put up with a bit of Amanda's sleuthing, but when a fellow real estate agent is murdered and strange things begin happening to Amanda herself, it's obvious that a killer is wanting to take her off the market.
This cozy seeks to push the envelope a bit with some uneven results. If you're the type of person who doesn't care for raunchy language, you may want to give this book a pass. In fact there's a time or two that the language goes beyond raunchy-- needlessly using a word that rhymes with "runt." However, even though the use of the last word I mentioned was completely gratuitous and detracted from the book's many good points, I did enjoy David James' mystery.
I enjoyed the humor in this book and James' talent for description. Amanda is a funny, slightly accident-prone woman who's still devastated from learning that the soulmate she was married to is gay. Once we get to know Alex, it's completely understandable why she would be. The detective in charge of the investigation trades one-liners with her, which is a refreshing change from the more usual bumbling, ill-tempered law enforcement officers we meet in cozies. Alex, the ex-husband, helps Amanda in her investigation, and although I really liked him, part of my mind felt as though he was just too good to be true. Next-door neighbor Regina the gossip magnet rounds out the list of my favorite characters.
Another facet of the book that I enjoyed was the glimpse into the Palm Springs real estate market. The insights into the surroundings, the climate, and the architecture are very interesting and add a great deal to the book.
As a whole, there is much to like about Three Bedrooms, Two Baths, One Very Dead Corpse. I'm looking forward to reading another book in the series to see if the cast of characters keeps making me laugh... and to see if the author has found a more appetizing way of pushing that envelope.
Three Bedrooms, Two Baths, One Very Dead Corpse by David James
Kensington © 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 299 pages
Cozy Mystery, #1 Amanda Thorne mystery
Source: Paperback Swap