Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection

spaceThis reader was asked to read and review a single book, in exchange for the free box set of books one through three of "Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection" by Barbara Venkataraman, a 'new-to-me' writer. However, my review is my own, not asked for or bought by the free books. The first book in the set was "Death by Didgeridoo" where Venkataraman introduces her main cast of characters from protagonist Jamie Quinn to my favorite, Marmaduke Broussard, and all others in between. The cast of characters were absolutely delightful and easy to visualize, as well as empathize with. Dialogue was natural sounding and authentic to each character speaking. The mystery was interesting and had an 'unusual' feel to it - which is a huge plus, and all the red herring's were fun paths to follow. Even though I did figure it out fairly quickly it was still an enjoyable trail to follow. Setting descriptions almost made me feel I was in Florida and did bring about actual memories of various visits to the state. My only 'bad' comment, per se, would be I didn't really care for Venkataraman's writing voice in this story. It felt a tad 'dry' to this reader.
spaceBook number two, "The Case of the Killer Divorce" gave readers a chance to get to know the cast of characters a bit better and witness their growth from the previous story. A fairly large continuity error was noticed, concerning the death of Jamie's mother... at the end of book one it had been referenced the mother had passed six months before the story started. In book two, there is a sentence saying Jamie's mother had passed three years previously and a paragraph or two later, it stated her death had been approximately two years before this story starts. The remainder of the story used the second statement of Jamie's mothers passing two years previously as a point of reference. Dialogue continued to be true and authentic to each character. Once again, this reader had figured out the 'who done it' part fairly quickly. There was one huge change in book number two compared to book number one. Venkataraman's writing voice changed. Wow, what a difference it made! This reader found humor and warmth in this improved style, which made this book an even better read than the first. There were still plenty of red herrings tossed about and a slightly convoluted path to follow - what fun! - before the big reveal. Protagonist Jamie was able to show a bit more of her funny side along with her warm nature, now that she had a grasp on her grieving for her mother. Marmaduke, or Duke, began to show up more and more and this reader giggled at every appearance he made - he's just so silly and able to hide his true nature from most around him, at times presenting himself as a drunken buffoon catering his private investigative services out of a bar, while his true friends - and discerning readers - can see what an intelligent, warm and caring man he is.
spaceIn book number three, "Peril in the Park", readers get to know Jamie's love interest, Kip, a bit better. The cast of characters continues to grow and flesh out - they truly are a stellar cast that helps move the story along as well as offering their own insights on various matters. Dialogue is authentic to each character speaking. This reader didn't have the main mystery solved immediately, but did grin when she realized she'd been leaning towards the 'bad guy' from the middle of the story on. All three books had very minor spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, mostly in the form of either a missing or added word in a sentence - like "in in" or things like that. All together, these books were a fun, fun read and I have no problem recommending this boxed set and Barbara Venkataraman as a writer - she simply proves her talent and her writing style continues to grow and grab a reader. ** Review originally posted to Amazon reviews on December 18, 2017 and Goodreads on the same date. **


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