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Posted July 19, 2012
Source: From JKS Communications, as part of the Murder for Choir
Source: From JKS Communications, as part of the Murder for Choir book tour
The competition between show choirs is fierce, but Paige's struggle to fit in at her new teaching position — while juggling a murder mystery of which she discovered the corpse (just her luck!) — even fiercer in Murder for Choir. For the most part, Charbonneau's first of the Glee Club mysteries is an amusing, fast-paced read. I love cozy mysteries, and found Paige's opera background and the Prospect Glen High's community to be a fresh, yet very realistic setting.
Paige never asked for any of it. All she wanted was a temporary job that would earn her enough to support her performer lifestyle. Her talent is renown — so what's she doing as an assistant choral director for snooty high school kids? Charbonneau wonderfully portrays the intimidation and desire for acceptance through Paige's relatively unworldly and clumsy eyes. While much of the interactions seem a bit exaggerated (I'm IN school, and have never encountered such rudeness that Paige deals with among her students), they do a good job at making her feel small, unwelcome. Add the murder of her rival director, an ill stream fate, and dose of curiosity (not to mention, hardheadedness), and yes, it might just be enough to do her over.
The book moves very quickly and never gets boring — that's what I love. Paige's klutziness is adorable and her humor sharp — readers will enjoy her fresh, strong-willed perspective. What I didn't favor so much was the mystery plot itself. Right off the bat, numerous suspects are listed (as Paige has the tendency to butt into situations, including murder cases, that she is instructed to stay away from). Each character Paige meets is looked at with suspicion, which doesn't leave much of a surprise nor bang at the end, when the perpetrator is finally caught. I know Charbonneau probably did this to confuse the reader and expand the pond of potential killers, but to me, it just made the conclusion dull. I like to be caught off guard, even with cozy mysteries. Murder for Choir is a fun, well-written story, but the ending just isn't worthwhile.
I don't have much to complain about regarding the writing. Charbonneau's style is acute, clever, and though a bit choppy, pleasantly straightforward. However, I didn't care for the structure of the book; it's too messy. All the events pass as a blur and none stand out significantly because the author crams too much into 294 pages. Paige attempts to solve anything and know everything, which in itself isn't a bad thing, but it does jumble the story a bit. I didn't like the inclusion of romance in this one either. Normally, I'm all for romance, but because there is no one prospect Paige is attracted to or attempts to pursue, it just adds on to the confusion. If her love interest was actually clear, it would have topped off Murder for Choir better. Heck, even if it had been expunged, and the mystery aspect of the book improved, Murder for Choir might have been better.
There's a lot I'm criticizing here, but I'm just being picky, just recording the equation for my own ideal romantic cozy mystery *grin*. Despite my little disapprovals, Murder for Choir is light, witty book that I often found myself getting immersed in. Combining endless action with plenty of speculation, it's a crisp, modern murder mystery with a fearless heroine and a satisfying (though predictable) ending .
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Posted November 23, 2013
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