I enjoyed this book very much. New author to me, but I will try for more of her books. Sometimes she was nosey, but sometimes she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. A fun book and I was surprised by who the killer really was.
Mortified, outraged and shocked are words that could easily describe Zeno Gorgias' neighbors. Of course, he brought it on himself with his front lawn display of what he calls âinteractive environmental art.â His latest work involves a barely clad woman strolling in his makeshift cemetery beside the centerpiece, a coffin. This cemetery is by no means a peaceful one. Loudspeakers boom sexually explicit sounds to the ever-gathering crowd.
Claire Malloy is having a cup of tea at the home of Miss Parchester, one such neighbor of the boisterous artist. The unconventional Miss Parchester feels Zeno is just exercising his right of expression, but Claire finds it hard to believe that the man in her life, Lieutenant Peter Rosen, can do nothing to shut down the three-ring circus that is creating such high emotion among the Willow Street residents.
Just when the situation seems at its pinnacle, a dead body is found in the notorious coffin-and this time it is not part of the artistic experience. Claire must find out just exactly who among the long list of angry suspects committed the crime while still keeping her sanity and her man.
I found the characters in this book quirky and outlandish, making it a very interesting read. One such character, Claire's wisecracking daughter, adds substantial stress to the situation as only a teenager can do. It made me want to pour a glass of wine for Ms. Malloy and toast to her motherly resilience.
Busy Bodies is the tenth Claire Molly Mystery by Joan Hess, and it is a comical jaunt down the whodunit trail.
To further whet your appetite, included in the book is a first chapter sneak peak to number eleven in the series, Akin to Murder.
You can find this review and more at http://reviews.armchairinterviews.com/reviews/busy-bodies-claire-molly-mystery
ellis9 reviewed Busy Bodies (Claire Malloy, Bk 10) on
From Publishers Weekely:
The usually quite conventional life of Farberville bookstore owner Claire Malloy embraces enough zany characters and situations in her 10th adventure (following Tickled to Death) to put readers in mind of Sheriff Arly Hanks's Maggody, the domain of Hess's other mystery series. Painter Zeno Gorgias, who has recently moved to the small Arkansas town's historic neighborhood, is staging performance pieces, starring a nearly naked young woman with a rubber snake, on his front lawn. Not only are Claire's hyperbolic teenage daughter and her friend involved, but Claire's policeman lover has his hands full with crowd control. Zeno's estranged wife arrives and threatens to have him institutionalized for incompetence; she is found murdered, her body recovered from charred ashes of Zeno's house after it?and half a million dollars' worth of his paintings?are burned. Suspects include the painter, his young, nubile "star," a couple from a local Bible college and a neighbor trying to sell his house. Another murder complicates Claire's efforts to understand motives as, in true small-town fashion, she pokes into everyone's business and manages, through some adroit footwork, to bring a murderer to his knees. Nearing her 40th birthday in this neatly plotted tale, Claire seems slightly more sardonic than in the past, but no less energetic.
This one was pretty good, although a bit predictable. The only thing I didn't understand was what they were saying about the lawn care boy at the end (You'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about!)
Leave it to Claire Malloy, devoted amateur sleuth and owner of the Book Depot in Farberville, to start out having tea and end up investigating a murder. When Zeno gorgias, an avant-garde artist, moves into town, the whole neighborhood is up in arms. His "interactive art" complete with a nearly nude model and a coffin in the front yard, is attracting a mob of gawkers. But soon his estranged wife comes to town to have him committed to a mental hospital.
Leave it to Claire Malloy, devoted amateur sleuth and owner of the Book Depot in Baberville, to start out having tea and end up investigating a murder. When Zeno Gorgias, an avant-garde artist, moves into town, the whole neighbor hood is up in arms. His "interacting," complete with a nealrly nude model and a coffin in the front is attracting a mob of noisy gawker.
Leave it to Claire Malloy, owner of the Book Depot in Farberville, to start out having tea with retired schoolteacher Miss Emily Parchester and end up investigating a murder. An avant-garde artist who moved into a house on Willow Street has the whole neighborhood up in arms. His "interactive art," complete with a nearly nude model and a coffin in the front yard, is attracting a mob of noisy gawkers.
Irate residents are worried about declining property values. The local mystery writer cannot meet her deadlines with the constant clatter. And when the artist's estranged wife rolls up in a limo and announces to one and all that she intends to have him committed to a mental institution, all of Farberville is in a dither.
But before the night is out, even stranger things happen: The volatile artist's house goes up in smoke, a dead body is found inside the coffin, the artist is promptly arrested for murder...and Claire Malloy, devoted amateur sleuth that she is, starts snooping where she doesn't belong.