Allison and Busby: This edition May 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
D.J. Smith is recovering from injuries sustained in the line of work. Her
superior officer assigns her to investigate a tip-off that the owners of a
private hotel in Scotland are involved in drug trafficking. She expects
this particular investigation to be easy: a busman's holiday.
However it's not to be. D.J. hits one hurdle after another. To begin with,
the sign "No pets will be entertained on these premises" means she has to
smuggle in Gorgonzola, her cat. She finds an array of possible suspects.
The owners, the dour, sour Mrs Mackenzie and her almost silent husband
Murdo, are prime suspects. But who are they working with? Surely not
Felicity Lanelles, "gastronome extraordinaire". Or perhaps the colourfully
dressed Italian Gina Lombardini is involved. Or could it be the
golf-obsessed Mr Spinks? Waldo M. Hinburger, Jr acts so much like a
gangster he has to be dodgy.
Posing as a tourist, D. J. dashes about the landscape to tourist haunts,
trailing suspects. One after another her suspects are eliminated -
literally. And someone is trying to eliminate her as well.
When your protagonist is a member of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and
her partner is a trained drug-sniffer cat (yes, I said cat), you know the
book isn't going to be heavy on the gritty realism. NO SUSPICIOUS
CIRCUMSTANCES is pure fluff so you do have to suspend disbelief to an
extent. However, D.J. lurches from crisis to crisis, often endangering her
life. Another day, another body. Yet one more attempt on her life. It all
becomes extremely repetitious and predictable.
As the suspects are killed off, there is no reason given for their deaths.
We have no idea if they are involved in the drug smuggling or whether they
merely got in the way and discovered who was behind it all.
D.J. is working alone. She follows a suspect to an island and is pushed
down a flight of stairs in an ancient castle. She dives into a pond in a
tropical arboretum to avoid detection. She nearly tumbles off a cliff edge
following a suspect alone at night. In between all this she is forced to
change hotels, to one where the cat is welcome. It is discovered her cat
is something of an artist, which is encouraged by her host. Cat paintings
can fetch big money in the U.S.A., you know. She also manages to
accidentally dye her hair bright green.
I'll be honest here. Cozies aren't my favourite genre of crime fiction.
However, I will happily admit to enjoying some light-hearted reading from
time to time. NO SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, however, was just a little too
much for me. I found it to be silly in the extreme and without enough plot
to sustain it.
Sep 2007 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem
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