Bad Housekeeping (An Agnes and Effie Mystery #1) by Maia Chance
Rating: Just Okay
Description: When 28-year-old Agnes Blythe, the contented bifocals-wearing half of an academic power couple, is jilted by her professor boyfriend for the town Pilates instructor, her future is suddenly less than certain. So when her glamorous, eccentric Great Aunt Effie arrives in town and offers a job helping to salvage the condemned Stagecoach Inn, what does Agnes have to lose? But work at the inn has barely begun when the unlikely duo find the body of manipulative Kathleen Todd, with whom Agnes and Effie both have recently had words. Words strong enough to land them at the top of the suspect list.
The pair have clearly been framed, but no one else seems interested in finding the real murderer and Agnes and Effie's sleuthing expertise is not exactly slick. Nevertheless, they're soon investigating a suspect list with laundry dirtier than a middle school soccer team's and navigating threats, car chases, shotgun blasts, and awkward strolls down memory lane.
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: I've really enjoyed other books by Maia Chance and I love a book about home restoration.
What I Didn't Like:
Agnes drove me crazy for the first 2/3 of the book! The fact that she left the apartment she shared with her boyfriend with NOTHING and didn't really seem worried about getting in back even though she had access to no clothes that fit her, her cell phone charger, or her money and identification just seemed insane. Her ex-boyfriend is beyond a jerk yet she seems to think they're getting back together. She doesn't want a lawyer even though she's a person of interest in a murder. Really the list of bad decisions goes on and on.
The majority of the characters act like they're in high school. There's a whole lot of eye rolling and while I don't remember if the characters actually say "duh" they might as well. Insults like loser and dork abound.
They hide information from the police. I get not sharing that Effie is sleeping in the inn but maybe you should let the detective know after you have a violent run in with a psychopath who proceeds to stalk you and attack you.
There's a LOT going on - so much so that the end felt a bit convoluted. A lot is setup for the series itself but there are also a lot of potential suspects and motives and it gets a little chaotic.
What I Did Like:
Aunt Effie is pretty awesome. She's gorgeous, chic and doesn't care in the slightest what people think.
While a little convoluted the mystery is well done. The ending makes sense and the reveal was a surprise.
Maia Chance's writing style just pulls me in even when I was rolling my eyes over Agnes' antics. She makes this a fun and breezy read even when the characters were driving me crazy.
In the last third Agnes kind of finds her people and the beginnings of a backbone seem to be developing. I'm hopeful for the future.
While I didn't love this one I really think there's a lot of potential for a great series. Agnes and Effie really are fun together and Maia Chance is such an entertaining author. While I did rate this as Just Okay this isn't a series I'm giving up on and I think book #2 will get much higher ratings.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author: Absolutely! While this wasn't my favorite I'm looking forward to seeing where the series goes.
Would I Recommend this Book? I would recommend the author with no hesitation. I love both her fairy tale retelling mysteries and her 1920s era mysteries. I think this series has a lot of potential but I'm not sure I'd recommend this first book without reservations.