Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mama Does Time by Deborah Sharp

Title: Mama Does Time
Author: Deborah Sharp
ISBN: 9780738713298, Midnight Ink, 2008
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, #1 Mace Bauer mystery
Rating: B

First Line: Mama just wanted to look pretty for high-stakes bingo night at the Seminole casino.

Mama is a lady. A Southern lady. She prefers to wear sherbet-colored pantsuits with matching accessories. She drives a vintage turquoise convertible...and she has three daughters. The oldest, Maddie, is the principal of the middle school in Himmarshee, Florida, and she can be a bit...tense and assertive. Marty, the youngest daughter is a librarian, and after growing up with Maddie and Mace, she normally doesn't say much of anything. Mace, the middle daughter in Mama's tribe, works with wildlife in Himmarshee Park and much prefers critters to people. One of Mace's aims in life seems to be doing the exact opposite of whatever Mama and Maddie want.

When a dead body is found in the trunk of Mama's convertible, the new lawman in town, humorless Detective Martinez, sets out to prove that Mama's the killer, and he throws her in jail. Naturally all three daughters swarm to her defense.

Although the author certainly has a wonderful turn of phrase, as I read the first part of the book, I was afraid that I'd gotten trapped in a routine cozy mystery. I was wrong. Detective Martinez-- at first the run-of-the-mill book 'em regardless of the facts lawman-- has real depth, as do Mace and her sisters. The Florida setting came through loud and clear because not only did my consumption of iced tea spike during the reading of the book, I had to turn the ceiling fan to a higher speed. Sharp kept the ball rolling at a good clip, and I quite happily climbed into the backseat of Mama's turquoise convertible for an entertaining ride.

More than anything, I enjoyed Mama Does Time for the characters and the humor. Want examples of what I'm talking about? Here are a few:

"...what happened to your hair, honey? It looks like a possum crawled in there and dug a nest."

After I polished off the chicken, I ate some tortilla chips with a bowl of my homemade salsa. It's strong enough to blow the back of your head all the way to Guadalajara.

And my personal favorite...

He poked her gently in the arm with his fork. "Chill out, Maddie. If you wind yourself up any tighter, only dogs will be able to hear you fart."

Now some of you may be thinking that Mama Does Time is going to be just too Southern for your taste buds. That would be a legitimate concern; however, I have a testimonial from my Yankee book buddy in Minneapolis. Cheryl and I are both on Paperback Swap, we both love mysteries, and we tend to mail each other books on a regular basis. Here's what Cheryl wrote on the packing slip when she sent me this book: "Enjoy! I liked it, even with the 'y'all', sweet tea and yappy little dog! LOL"

Mama Does Time
is an entertaining mystery with a wonderful cast of characters that is appealing regardless upon which side of the Mason-Dixon you reside. I, for one, am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.


  1. Oh, I love humor and witty dialogue in good mysteries, too!! Thanks for pointing that out!

  2. Well, as a dyed in the wool Yankee now transplanted to FL, I can say I enoyed the book also and found the humor really enticing. Mama has spunk and I do like me a spunky ol'lady character, y'all!

  3. Your review made my day, Cathy. Thanks so much for saying such nice things about my "Mama Does Time.'' When I left the sad stories of the news biz behind, all I wanted to do was write funny mysteries that would make people laugh ... glad to hear "Mama'' made you smile.

  4. Great quotes. My husband always wonders what in the world I'm doing when I laugh out loud sitting at my computer; sort of an added bonus to the fun.

  5. This was a fun review to read this morning. Thanks. It sounds like a nice, light, refreshing read for you in the midst of the homicide stories.

  6. Thanks for the review of this one. I like the sound of it and, happily, found that it is available for my Kindle. Best of all, there is a Book 2 already. Love new authors!

  7. I can´t help it - I had to add this one to my list. LOL

  8. Margot-- Exactly. Even the darkest mystery can be improved by a splash of humor and witty dialogue.

    Kaye-- Gotta watch out for them ole ladies, I tell ya!

    Deborah-- Thanks so much for stopping by! Mama Does Time did more than make me smile. The comment about Maddie being wound up too tight has now been voted a Mr. & Mrs. Kittling Favorite!

    "RV"-- Yes. It drives my husband nuts if I sit here and laugh and don't tell him what brought on the giggles.

    Margot-- You know me... I'm always up for a good murder and a good laugh. ;)

    Kay-- Fantastic! I hope you enjoy them both!

    Dorte-- Don't tell me... the dog quote made you do it.....

  9. Have just put a hold on this one. You do this to me every time, Cathy ...

  10. Belle-- And I'm totally, completely unrepentant about it! LOL

  11. This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading perhaps. I might look for it. :-)

  12. Mike-- Don't tell me... the dog quote sold it to you! LOL


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