Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton

First Line: RENT ME, the sign, written in funky, colored text, read.

Jaymie Leighton has found a money-making use for her vintage kitchenware. In league with the Queensville Emporium, tourists are now able to rent themed picnic baskets for day trips in the area. Now if Jaymie were only as successful in finding out what turned her childhood best friend against her. Unwilling to leave it alone, Jaymie tries repeatedly to get Kathy Cooper to talk to her, but when she finds Kathy's body in the park after the Fourth of July fireworks, she has to concentrate on something else. With one of her glass bowls found by Kathy's body, Jaymie is now Suspect #1. She needs to focus on the present, not the past.

I appreciate it when authors create characters who evolve throughout a series of books, but they don't always grow in the directions I would prefer. This is what's happening in Victoria Hamilton's Vintage Kitchen mysteries. I enjoyed Jaymie Leighton in the first book, A Deadly Grind, but not so much in this one. For one thing, there's very little to do with vintage kitchenalia in this second outing, and although there's a bit more about the second cookbook she's putting together, there's not enough of that either. It's a natural outcome of all the part-time jobs she's accumulated in between books, but I still missed my collectibles fix.

Most of the book has to do with Jaymie's high school feud with best friend Kathy Cooper. Kathy has always refused to tell her what caused the blowup, and in Bowled Over, Jaymie spends way too much time trying to worm information out of others-- and making matters worse. Her actions show her to be naive and a little bit strait-laced. If she's nice to someone, she expects to be liked, and she can't leave it alone if that's not what happens. She's thrown for a loop if someone she's met proves not to meet her perceptions or her expectations. More than once while I was reading, I wanted to tell Jaymie to grow up.

With all this grumping, you might think that I didn't like the book. Surprise-- I did because the mystery was so good. All in all, I'm undecided about continuing to read Jaymie's further adventures, but don't let me stop you from reading either book in this series. Bowled Over touches on a period of my life that I did not like and seldom think about anymore. I can almost guarantee that your mileage in high school-- and your enjoyment of this book-- will vary greatly!

Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton
ISBN: 9780425251928
Berkley Prime Crime © 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages

Cozy Mystery, #2 Vintage Kitchen mystery
Rating: B
Source: Paperback Swap 


  1. Cathy - Isn't it interesting how character evolution can either draw the reader in even farther into a story, or put the reader off? And as you say, it's no good if the characters don't evolve at all, especially in a cosy series. I am glad at least that the mystery was well done and kept your interest.

    1. I love an evocative setting, but it's all about the characters for me. I seldom ever disagree with the way a character develops, and I'm not about to email an author and tell him/her that it's being done all wrong. If I think I'm that much of a know-it-all, I should just sit myself down and write my own book! :-)


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