The Gentle Art of Murder by Jeanne M. Dams
Rating: 4 Stars
Description: One late-summer evening, before the beginning of the new term, Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, are guests at Sherebury University art department's drinks party to introduce new teacher's assistant, sculptress Gillian Roberts. However, tragedy strikes on a tour of the sculpture department when the lift breaks down and a corpse is discovered at the bottom of the lift shaft. Dorothy and Alan become involved in the ensuing investigation, putting their local knowledge and sleuthing skills to good use once again.
Why I Picked This Book: I read this series very early on and always enjoyed it. I was curious to see how it was 15+ years later.
My Impression: The last time I read a book by Jeanne M. Dams was probably 15 years ago or so and while I remember enjoying the series I don't remember much about it. I have no idea why I stopped reading it. I was getting almost all my books from a used book store at the time so it may have been just simple lack of availability. I thought I remembered this being on the cute and fluffy end of the cozy spectrum so I was curious especially since the cover of this one doesn't fit with the usual cute and fluffy cover. Now I don't know if my memory is faulty, my tastes have changed or if the series has evolved but I definitely wouldn't deem this one as cute or fluffy. While it definitely is a cozy - amateur-ish detective, most of the violence occurs off-page, and the victim was incredibly unlikable I found this more like a classic mystery in terms of style. The mystery itself is very solid and kept me guessing. This definitely wasn't one of those books where you have no suspects. Every person in the book had a pretty valid reason to take out the victim and the only thing that was surprising was that no one had done it earlier.
It made since that Dorothy was involved in the investigation as her husband was a very much respected detective and they have a long history working as a team. Also, while I sometimes find books involving the British education system confusing, it was no issue here. The mystery was clear, clean, well-plotted, and thoroughly enjoyable. I can't wait to read more of the series.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! I have a lot of books to catch up on!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, I think mystery readers that enjoy classic mysteries would enjoy this one.