Jam Fail

328-9Book: A Spoonful of Poison

Author: M. C. Beaton

I like a good mystery. I also like mystery that has a hint of romance. This book promised that in its flyleaf.

The story could have been a lot better. I felt that there was too much telling and not enough showing. The word “said” is used too much. So are passive words like wondered, thought, felt, remembered, with the word “had” in front of them. The dialogue itself is all right, except the aforementioned “said.”* I also noticed the way the author uses “she” to talk about the main character. As in: She thought this. She felt this. She resented that. She let herself in. She used the word “she” to start four sentences in a row. 

The word “had” drove me crazy after a couple more pages. Also “was.” He “was” that. This person “was” that. She was sure that this couldn’t happened. She was sure that this book couldn’t have been so horrible.

I was sure that this wouldn’t drive me crazy…

The story idea is good. Agatha Raisin works at her detective agency. A vicar of a nearby village  persuades her to publicize a church event. The organizer turns out to be a hunk. Middle-aged, but a hunk nonetheless. Agatha (also middle-aged) gets the people to the fair, but it appears that the jam in the jam-tasting booth was spiked with LSD, leading to two murders. Agatha must uncover the truth, keep the church safe, and expose the nasty secrets in the village. It seems that hunky organizer man may have a few secrets up his sleeve too!

Not so bad, right?

3412837958_0308f807cdIf it was a screenplay, it might be salvageable. As it stands right now, nah. I will never understand how some writers get to be NY Times bestselling authors. Some parts were genuinely funny. I found myself wanting to find out what happens in the next book, if it weren’t for the poor prose. The other annoying thing: Agatha Raisin seems like an amateur detective. She throws herself into the arms of any hunky man that comes along, disregarding all her detective training. It’s not just hunky men, it’s other things. You’d see if you read it. But don’t. Agatha is the kind of person who you get really annoyed at but sort of like at the same time. While disliking. Ahhh, that’s confusing.

Excuse me while I go weep in the pillows. The pillows were in the bed. The bed was comfortable. The sky is blue. The blogger feels frustrated. She is sad that what could have been a good book went wrong. She had thought that this would have been good. She is thinking that chocolate would calm her nerves.


2 thoughts on “Jam Fail

  1. Interesting review. On the ‘said’ thing, i much prefer ‘said’ to most other dialogue tags. ‘Said’ is nearly invisible as tags go, unlike most other said-isms, but yeah, if it’s used for almost every sentence of dialogue instead of having descriptions (‘That was nice.’ *character name* took another sip of her tea) then yeah, it can get tedious.

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