First Line: My name is Agnes Blythe, and sure, I may h ave neglected to do any exercise since I completed my high school PE requirement, but I'm in the prime of life.
Twenty-eight-year-old Agnes Blythe has been jilted and is no longer half of an academic power couple. Instead she finds herself helping her great aunt salvage the Stagecoach Inn. While trying to save the old place from the wrecking ball, both women have heated words with the manipulative Kathleen Todd, so when Todd is found dead Agnes and Effie find themselves right at the top of the suspect list.
They've clearly been framed, but no one seems interested in finding the real killer, so they have to do it for themselves. It's not long before they have the whole town stirred up because their investigative technique could use (a lot of) work.
Author Maia Chance has an excellent sense of humor, and she's concocted many wonderful one-liners that she's peppered throughout Bad Housekeeping. Unfortunately, I found those one-liners to be the best part of the book, along with what little there was of renovating the old inn. First, there's the problem of the mystery-- I knew the identity of the killer the first time the character was introduced. Since that person was introduced within the first few pages, I was reading for the characters and setting alone.
The setting was good, so that leaves the characters. Effie was an extremely well-paid model in her youth. She's now in her seventies and looks decades younger, which is strange because she smokes like the proverbial chimney, and it's a well-known fact that heavy smoking is far from kind to a person's looks. Effie is also supposed to be colorful and eccentric, but I found her to be self-absorbed and annoying. So... what about the other main character?
The book is told from the point of view of Agnes, and I found her to be monumentally immature for her age. Agnes has scarcely any money, yet when--through an accident aided by her ex-fiance-- all her clothing, her contact lenses, all her identification, and her wallet wind up at Goodwill, she can't be bothered to go through the donations to find any of her stuff. Instead-- since she's living at home with her father-- she's wearing her too-small wardrobe from high school.
Self-absorbed and immature do not a good crime-solving duo make. At least in my book. Bad Housekeeping definitely was not my cup of tea, but your mileage may certainly vary.
Bad Housekeeping by Maia Chance
Crooked Lane Books © 2017
eBook, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #1 Agnes & Effie mystery
Source: Net Galley