Monday, March 29, 2010

Homemade Sin by Kathy Hogan Trocheck

Title: Homemade Sin
Author: Kathy Hogan Trocheck
ISBN: 0061092568, Harper Mystery, 1995
Genre: Cozy mystery, Private Investigator, #3 Callahan Garrity mystery
Rating: C-
Source: Paperback Swap

First Line: "Nine-letter hint," I muttered, absent-mindedly winding a curl around my finger.

When her cousin Patti McNair is shot to death in her new car near the Garden Homes project in Atlanta, a horrible situation is made even worse by the fact that her young son is in the car with her. Callahan refuses to believe that Patti's death is a random robbery and senseless murder, and sets out to find her own suspects and conduct her own investigation. In fact, she's being so mule-headed about the whole thing that she puts her own life in danger.

I've enjoyed this series about a former Atlanta police officer who's now owner of the House Mouse cleaning service. Granted, Callahan's mother has always rubbed my fur the wrong way with her methods of getting her daughter to do as she wants, but I could overlook that. Unfortunately, in Homemade Sin there were a few too many things I couldn't overlook.

For one thing, I can't help but compare this series to Ann Purser's Lois Meade series centered on a woman running her own house cleaning agency in small town England. Purser's series wins, hands down. It's obvious that Callahan had a career previous to House Mouse, and by the way she's always haring off to do something else, her heart isn't in her current career. On the other hand, Lois keeps a tight rein on her business, takes care of her family and solves crimes.

Trocheck's series, set in Atlanta, also has a tendency to limit African American characters to the roles of domestics, gang bangers and project dwellers, which didn't set well with me.

But what really got up my nose is the behavior of Callahan herself. At the very beginning of the book, there really isn't any evidence to support Callahan's belief that Patti's murder was planned. I'm sorry, but Callahan's guilt over not talking to or visiting with her cousin as often as she should have in recent years just isn't evidence to me. Our intrepid heroine then proceeds to ride rough-shod over everyone else in the family to pursue her gut feeling. She has no respect for anyone else's feelings or wishes. Then she pouts when family members give her the Silent Cold Shoulder Treatment. Gah!

Yes, Callahan was proved right, but I'm still annoyed with her. Hmm... see why I have enjoyed this series? The characters can get to you! If you're in the mood for a cozy with a heroine whose heart is in the hunt and not the scrub bucket, give Kathy Hogan Trocheck's Callahan Garrity series a try. Not everyone is a curmudgeon like me!


  1. It's been years since I read this series and I did enjoy it. I have a feeling I wasn't reading it with as keen an eye back then, so I didn't notice the flaws you mentioned.

  2. The book cover got my attention but then the C- made me stop and read. Sounds more like an author trying to make a plot idea work. I'll pass.

  3. With that cover it ought to have been good!

  4. Sounds like an interesting book, I may have to check it out someday. Thanks for the review.

  5. Kathy-- It's also happened to me several times in a series that I *do* enjoy that there's one book that just hits me the wrong way. Don't know if it's me being overly sensitive or what!

    Margot-- I wouldn't blame you, although I would really recommend the first two books in the series.

    Dorte-- That's something I've never paid all that much attention to: book covers.

    Ryan-- You're welcome. :)


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