**** Quality you expect from Kavanagh, November 8, 2007
By Armchair Interviews (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bloody Ham (Paperback)
Reviewed by Vanessa Lee
Hazel Whitby follows her antique silver - and her latest lover - to Ham House, the location of a new movie shoot. She is joined by her friend and business partner, Belinda Lawrence, and they're both present when one of the stars dies. It looks accidental, but it's quickly ruled a murder, and when Belinda is asked to take the role of stand-in for the Hollywood star who takes over the part, figuring out "whodunit" becomes top priority.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of distractions, including clashing Hollywood egos, a long-time lover wanting commitment, and an old flame Belinda sort-of rekindled on her recent visit to Australia. Then there is another murder...and Belinda becomes a prime suspect.
Though some of the situations seem a bit contrived, overall Bloody Ham is a well-written cozy mystery with likeable and unique "detectives." They read like real people, complete with petty jealousy, commitment issues, and odd obsessions. They mostly blunder through the mystery, which is quite believable as well as entertaining and if the body count gets a bit high and the police presence seems a little low, well, no book can be perfect.
The mystery itself is well-done as well and fits together nicely. The way Belinda and Hazel solve it is also quite convincing, though it is curious why the police didn't do some of the things the ladies accomplish. They were mentioned as being involved, and yet there weren't any police officers as characters, which seems odd. It doesn't detract from the story, however, and it gave Belinda and Hazel the starring roles they deserved.
One particularly impressive thing was Kavanagh's use of setting - both the crazy Hollywood set as well as the actual location of Ham House. The two are at odds with each other and yet Kavanagh blends them together seamlessly and manages to use both to commit and solve the crimes. It adds flavor to the story that would be lacking if either element were removed.
Armchair Interviews says: Bloody Ham is a fun, unique read and we look forward to more of Belinda and Hazel in the future.
Causes Brian Kavanagh Supports
Blind associations, Cancer research, Stroke Foundations.