Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Hardboiled Murder: An Aggie Underhill Mystery by Michelle Ann Hollstein

This is a story with Aggie Underhill, One would described as an Agatha Christie character, an elder Brit woman with her off colour humor and her passion to solved mysteries, introducing Mrs. Aggie Underhill  who can't keep herself from not getting  involved with a mystery where ever she goes and she becomes so entrenched in it she puts herself in to dangerous and witty dilemmas. 

It opens with a young couple celebrating their first year anniversary of adultery in the scenic hills of California. On a date of a romantic dinner, the female character has to tell her lover a secret not sure how he will respond to it. Her secret did not go well, and now she is suffering the scary consequences.

Chapter two opens with the main character, Aggie Underhill she is a widower and has a discipline in her manners, except on a spur of a moment dare from a dear friend she purchases a sports car and enjoys the freedom it give her. She relocated from Britain to be near her daughter and family. She lives in Palm Springs and her close friend of twenty years Betty lives next door.

She is reminiscing about her deceased husband and his note and necklace he left behind, leaving her, her own mystery to solve but she is not ready to face the tumult of going through his personal items. Meanwhile she is late for a coffee engagement, not a date with the handsome police officer and is being followed and trying to compete for a parking space with a blue hair lady who looks like Marge Simpson.

As the plot continues the mystery girlfriend is back in the story. Mixing in dysfunctional family dynamics and the book club fiasco, this reader wants to thank the author for writing hilarious scenarios; this book will definitely lift one’s spirits. And wait there is still the other mystery to solve of the young greedy married man who is cheating on his rich wife and the mysterious girlfriend and the threat of sabotage and murder lurking around every corner. Of course the characters will all crossed paths which give Mrs. Underhill the advantage to unravel the clues of the suspicion events.

In the midst the author adds family gatherings and antics which delights the reader for each character has their own colorful personality, especially Mrs. Underhill, entertaining this reader with her brazen confrontations with others.

There is karma floating throughout the plot, it is good to see the bad guys get their dues when they commit acts of spite against another, a good hot coffee spilling in the lap, yeah karma.

Betty, Aggie's best friend too gets involved not by her own will just being in the Wrong place, at the wrong time, put all the characters together and you have a comedic and suspenseful story in the makings.  The competition between the mature ladies over the handsome police officer is a riot. Reading along and bang an event and this reader's pulse went racing not expecting that twist.

The suspects are leaving clues, two dead bodies, was it intentional or accidental, what about a ransacked home, missing jewelry and cherished jewelry all lead to an adventure with so many twists it hard to keep track but entertaining too. So many occurrences and this reader's mind was racing wondering who are the suspects? And what is one's motive to invaded someone boundaries, the question, what were they looking for?

In the author's words:

"My word," Betty said. "It has Alexander Dominsky's name scribbled on it."
Aggie nodded. "That's Lionel's handwriting." "It doesn't make sense. Why would Lionel have Alexander Dominsky's  name written down? Unless... maybe it's just a fluke.
Maybe he liked his books."

"Maybe," Aggie muttered. "But I doubt it. Someone ransacked my home the same day Dominsky was found dead. There's something more going on here."

"I don't know, Aggie." Betty shook her head. "I think you might be looking too deep."

“Aggie held up the key dangling from her necklace. "This means something, Betty. You said so yourself. I say we go over to the Sinclair's. At the book club, Esmerelda Sinclair announced that Alexander Dominsky was staying in her guesthouse and that he was a good friend. What are the odds that she died the same day, too?"

As this reader read the plot it turned out to be an intriguing investigator’s mystery with the ring of an British Agatha Christine flowing through the pages and continues with excitement and humor all the way to the conclusion with some very strange and complex events; plus there is a hint of conspiracy mixed in too. I highly recommend readers who like little daring middle age ladies who view everything with a Brit’s perspective about life, that in itself is entertainment,  If so,  you will enjoy this and the other mysteries in this series written by this author.  Plus there is a You Tube video to give you a glimpse of this talented author’s style, just goggle book title and author’s name and be amazed. . ..

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