Author: Nina Wright
Publisher: Midnight Ink, 2005
Paperback, 254 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth, #1 Whiskey Mattimoe mystery
Source: Purchased as an eBook from Barnes and Noble.
First Line: "He was lying there like you are now. Only he was dead."
33-year-old realtor Whiskey Mattimoe is still trying to adjust to the unexpected death of her husband and to make sure her Afghan hound, Abra, is cured of purse snatching. The very last thing she needs is to have one of her properties turn into a murder scene. Unfortunately that is exactly what happens, and Whiskey finds herself trying to figure out schemes involving fraud and priceless art. Moreover, Whiskey has to multi-task because while she's trying to figure things out, her house tries to burn down, there are break-ins, and attempts on her life. She'd better multi-task faster while she still can!
I found the plot easy to second guess and a bit too dependent upon coincidence, but-- frankly my dear-- I didn't give a fiddle-dee-dee. Whiskey on the Rocks is all about characterization, voice, and humor. Wright is adept at creating memorable characters, and Whiskey is front and center as a wise-cracking, smart, vulnerable heroine. The only thing about her that grated on my nerves was the fact that she tends to scream at the drop of a hat.
Among the other characters, one stands tall above the rest: the Afghan hound, Abra (short for... Abracadabra). There are a lot of mystery series that have cats and dogs as characters, but Abra is different. No, she doesn't talk, or spell h-e-l-p in the mashed potatoes, or bite, or think aloud. Abra is the Bad Dog of Crime Fiction. She escapes and wreaks havoc on the neighbors. She steals purses and has court appearances. She drives Whiskey nuts. Despite all this, I still wanted to give Abra a big hug. You see... Abra isn't Whiskey's dog. Abra loved and belonged to Whiskey's husband, and no one's been able to make Abra understand that her master isn't coming back. Sorry. I should've given my fellow animal lovers boxes of tissues at the door, shouldn't I?
Whiskey, Abra, and their eight-year-old neighbor make this book a winner. I can't wait to see what happens in future books in this series!