Monday, April 21, 2014

Loco Motive by Mary Daheim

From USA Today bestselling author Mary Daheim comes her latest Bed-and-Breakfast book featuring innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn and her irrepressible cousin Renie in a mystery that takes them on the wrong side of the tracks. . . . Loco Motive

It's autumn at Hillside Manor B&B, and with the changing leaves come some unexpected guests. There's Judith's son and daughter-in-law, with their two children in tow, a couple with an impossible (and unbelievable?) last name who show up from nowhere, and a pair of giggly young women who don't seem to know where they're going.

As Halloween draws nigh, Judith can barely cope with her gala of guests, but at least the worst guest from the first part of the week checks out--almost permanently. Wee Willie Weevil, infamous daredevil and martial-arts movie icon, insisted on performing his dangerous stunts from Judith's roof and left the B&B via an ambulance.

Hoping to escape the domestic mayhem, Judith agrees to accompany Renie on a cross-country train trip to Boston with first-class accommodations on the Empire Builder. Judith's bubble bursts when she discovers that Wee Willie and his entourage are fellow travelers. Although confined to a wheelchair, the diminutive stunt man seems capable of derailing the cousins' vacation.

Cousin Renie does her best to ease Judith's mind until the train collides with a truckload of sugar beets. Forced to wait for a new engine in a small Montana town in the middle of nowhere, the passengers can do nothing but watch and wait. Even before the train can get back on track, the cousins discover that their sleeper attendant has gone missing. Worse yet, another passenger's final destination is the nearest morgue.

Judith and Renie have to move full speed ahead if they want to blow the whistle on the killer before death strikes again. Can the train continue its journey? Will the cousins ever get to Boston? Stay aboard! (from GoodReads)

This is my first Bed-and-Breakfast mystery even though I've had two of these books sitting on my shelf for a few years now. I really enjoy mysteries so I was excited to sink my teeth into this series. While I liked the book overall, there were definitely things I had issues with.

Let's start with the good: I really like the protagonist Judith. I thought it was funny how she's an amateur sleuth and just stumbles upon these cases (unlike Nancy Drew, who is specifically asked to use her talents). I also felt like I could relate to Judith even though she's an older woman. One instance in particular where she's hesitant to tell her visiting son and his family that she's going to miss the Halloween festivities is definitely how I would act in that situation. The banter between her and her cousin Renie is really funny too. I also liked how they were traveling cross-country by train, which is something I've never done. I'd like to try it now because it sounds exciting!

I didn't like that it took over 100 pages to actually get to the mystery part of the story. The beginning stuff was mostly just filler that was unneeded. The mystery itself was a little confusing and there were so many characters that had their hands in the crime! It was difficult to keep track of them, especially since they had aliases and secret identities. Also the incident with Roy, the train attendant, was never resolved.

Overall, I did like Loco Motive because it was a mystery and I always love those. The problems I had with the book weren't enough to send me away from this series and I'm about to read the next book since I own it. We'll see how I like it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: sent from publisher

2010/William Morrow/311 pages.

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