NO SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES
The Mulgray Twins

 


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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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