“Clubbed to Death” by Elaine Viets (Obsidian, 2005) is a cute and humorous cozy mystery, one of her series of books, the Dead-End Job Mysteries. Helen’s job in the complaint department of a private country club, fielding calls from the rich, arrogant, demanding members who make her life a living hell, goes further down the sewer when her deadbeat ex-husband, Rob, reappears, then disappears, and Helen is suspected of murdering him. A couple of other bodies then turn up, clubbed to death with a 7-iron of course, and things go from bad to worse. Helen must figure out whether Rob is dead or alive and who the murderer is to save her job and herself.
I enjoyed this book because of the quirky characters, the tongue-in-cheek humor, and the fact that it is set in South Florida where I live. Although the country club is fictional, the rest of the settings are pretty much actual places in the area or good representations, which always makes the story easier for me to picture in my mind and relate to.
The only other book I had read by this author was “Dying in Style” (Signet, 2005) which I thought was not quite as well written as “Clubbed to Death”, but it was an earlier effort. This one is part of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series. The plot is pretty much the same. The owner of a chain of exclusive stores that Josie has been assigned to shop undercover and evaluate is found murdered, and Josie is suspected. She needs to find the killer in order to clear herself.
The book is a little slow getting started, but gets going eventually, and there is a satisfying conclusion. This is an earlier book, and it was apparent that Ms. Viets’ more recent effort shows a developing style and better pacing. As a budding writer myself, I always find it interesting to see how other writers improve and develop their craft over the years.
In any case, if you are a fan of the cozy style mystery and are in search of an light diversion, this author is well worth checking out.
Check out the author’s web page for more info: http://www.elaineviets.com/