Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Mournful Teddy by John J. Lamb

Title: The Mournful Teddy
Author: John J. Lamb
ISBN: 0425211126, Berkley Prime Crime, 2006
Genre: Cozy, #1 Bear Collector's mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Paperback Swap

First Line: It was just before dawn on Saturday morning, the first day of October, and I again awoke to find myself in a strange bedroom... only this time my wife, Ashleigh, was gone.

The luck of the draw can be amusing at times. Each Thursday I review two books. Today I'm reviewing two cozy mysteries: one about doll collectors and this one about bear collectors. My grandmother had a marvelous collection of antique dolls, and at one time I collected bears, so now you know why both books appealed to me.

Another thing that is a bit strange is that I almost stopped reading this book, too, after a few pages when I deduced the Bad Guys. However, it didn't take much persuasion for me to continue reading because of the voice of the main character. Brad Lyon is a former San Francisco police officer who was seriously wounded and forced to take early retirement. Retirement just happened to take him and his wife, Ashleigh, from "the world's largest unfenced lunatic asylum" (Brad's description of San Francisco) to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Brad's wife makes teddy bears, and the two of them are ready to load up the truck and take all the bears to the Shenandoah Valley Teddy Bear Extravaganza where the Mourning Bear-- made to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic-- will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Before Brad can even get in the driver's seat, he finds the body of a man in the river, and once he and his wife make it to the Extravaganza, he learns that the Mourning Bear is missing. Add to all this the fact that there are strange goings-on in the small town of Remmelkemp Mill, Virginia, and Brad has his hands full.

I am so glad I kept reading The Mournful Teddy. I fell in love with Brad and his wisecracks and the fact that there are at least 900 reasons why he's madly in love with his wife of twenty-six years. I liked his wife Ashleigh because she's one talented lady who loves her husband just as much in return and also for the fact that she's a policeman's wife-- level-headed, full of common sense, and definitely not the type to sit around wringing her hands.

Although I'd deduced very early on whodunit, the "how" was definitely convoluted and fun to try to untangle. I wish there'd been a bit more about teddy bears and collecting, but you know what? If I have to make a choice between teddy bear lore and Brad and Ashleigh, I'm going to choose Brad and Ashleigh. They're marvelous characters, and I definitely plan to read more of this series.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful cozy and I can't help but love the cover. Sounds like one I need to add to my ever growing TBR pile. Thanks for the review.

  2. Ryan-- You're welcome. Lamb does a wonderful job with his characters.

  3. I love cozy mysteries. I just don't seem to find the time to review that many. Too many other books. Anyway, this one sounds really good. I'm a sucker for a cute cover. I'm going to keep an eye out for this one.

  4. I haven't heard about this one, your description definitely has me interested in it.

  5. Marie-- Good! I hope you get the chance to read and enjoy it.

    Kris-- I really loved the characters.


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