‘Assisted Murder,’ by Jeff Shelby

I’m a fan of mystery writer Jeff Shelby, especially his Noah Braddock novels (of which I’ll be reviewing the latest tomorrow). He also writes a “cozy series” called the Moose River Mysteries. This is probably a good economic decision – “cozies” written for a female audience comprise, as far as I can see, more than half of the mystery market. I keep trying to cultivate a taste for this genre, but alas, no joy.

The Moose River series involves the Gardner-Savage (blended) family, Jake, Daisy, and four kids, who live in Moose River, Minnesota. But in Assisted Murder they fly to Florida, for Jake’s grandmother’s 100th birthday, and also to do Disney World. They encounter Grandmother Billie (grumpy) and Aunt Gloria (high-energy and ditzy), who both live in a retirement community. They also encounter several of their friends, who prove as driven by competition, lust, and jealousy as any assemblage of younger people. This is underlined when Aunt Gloria’s worst enemy is discovered murdered in her (Gloria’s) house, and the police make her their chief suspect.

I suspect that Assisted Murder would be a highly amusing read for members of its intended audience, with the cute, bickering kids and the not-so-cute, bickering geriatrics running amok in their various ways. Didn’t work for me, of course, but I have no objection to make for those who like this kind of thing. Pretty family-friendly.

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