Friday , May 24 2024
The book suggests it's different to most in the mystery genre because the first two adult characters encountered are lesbian.

Book Review: A Puzzled Heart

I wanted to like A Puzzled Heart – I really did. I have heard raves about the series and the author. Examining the book cover and seeing that the author, Amanda Cross, is really Carolyn Heilbrun, a humanities professor at Columbia, increased my enthusiasm.

But, alas, I came away disappointed for two reasons I’ll explain in a moment. Right away, the book suggests it’s different to most in the mystery genre because the first two adult characters encountered are lesbian. Then the mystery begins.

A college professor, Kate Fansler, shows up at their door to announce that she has received word that her husband has been kidnapped. The captors tell her in a letter that he will be released only if Fansler renounces her feminist opinions.
Cross uses the opportunity to take digs at conservative organizations and politicans. And that results in my biggest beef with the book: It becomes quite heavy-handed and preachy at times.

The book has enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing what is going on and who is behind the evil deed. Just when the reader is getting into the story, though, Cross throws in what she apparently considers fun grammar humor.

If somone uses a run-on statement or parses a sentence, it always gets remarked upon. In fact, I would surely have been chastised by the characters for my grammar thus far in this review.

On more than one occasion I wanted to scream, “This is a mystery, not an English class!”

Overall, it was an enjoyable book and provided a glimpse into a different style of mystery writing than I am accustomed to. Than that type of which I have become accustomed… darn, look what the author did to me now!

This review was originally published at Mindjack.

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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