A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair #3) by Judith Flanders
Description: Usually sharp-witted editor Sam Clair stumbles through her post-launch-party morning with the hangover to end all hangovers. Before the Nurofen has even kicked in, she finds herself entangled in an elaborate saga of missing neighbours, suspected arson and the odd unidentified body. When the grisly news breaks that the fire has claimed a victim, Sam is already in pursuit. Never has comedy been so deadly as Sam faces down a pair from Thugs ‘R’ Us, aided by nothing more than a CID boyfriend, a stalwart Goth assistant and a seemingly endless supply of purple-sprouting broccoli.
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: This was described as Bridget Jones meets Agatha Christie. How could I pass it up?
My Impression: While I couldn't resist an Agatha Christie/Bridget Jones mashup going in I was a little hesitant. I mean how would this actually work? Agatha Christie is known for her clearly plotted precisely done mysteries and Bridget Jones is known for kind of being a mess. How it worked was delightfully! Sam's voice is breezy, chatty, and occasionally snarky and lots of fun. It felt like listening to a conversation with a best friend telling me all about the crazy stuff that had happened to her. In the middle of it all is a tightly wound complex little mystery with arson and a missing persons case thrown in.
I wasn't surprised to see that the author had spent a number of years working as an editor at publishing houses just like the Sam, the main character in this series. The scenes at Sam's work just felt so authentic that I could just feel it came from experience. As a reader I really enjoyed the look into the not so glamorous world of publishing! Along with the publishing house, there are a number of characters sprinkled through Sam's world from the residents of "the empty house", to her boyfried who just happens to work for CID, to her gardening neighbor who never leaves his apartment, over to Viv another gardening neighbor who plays an important role in getting her mixed up with the mystery.
If you're going for just a straight mystery this may not be the read for as there is quite a lot going on and at times the mystery is in the background. It never felt forgotten, there were just times it was't the focus. If you're looking for a book with a fun, intelligent if sometimes frazzled main character, love a bit of publishing house gossip, and don't mind a dead body and an additional felony or two then you can't miss with this one! I did note that this is actually the 3rd Sam Clair book but I was actually unaware of that until I finished this book. I don't think you'll have any problem diving right in with this one!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! I actually already own several of Flanders' nonfiction books that I'm looking forward to reading and I'd like to go back and start from the beginning with the Sam Clair mysteries.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely! Just be prepared that it isn't a straight up mystery.