Monday, September 12, 2011

Line Up for Murder by Marian Babson

I liked this book but there's something important you should know: it's not a murder mystery. It's only barely a mystery. I didn't mind, but some people might.

Dorrie Witson considers herself an expert queuer, so when the London department store Bonnard's holds a special sale to celebrate its 100th anniversary, Dorrie is third in line a week before the store reopens. Behind her are a mysterious young woman and her sullen boyfriend. As the days drag on and Dorrie gets to know her fellow queuers, she senses something strange is going on with the woman--and possibly with Bonnard's itself.

About a third of the way into this book, I caught myself wishing that there wouldn't be a stupid murder to mess up the cozy enjoyment of reading about these people waiting for a big sale. Lucky for me, there is no murder. Yes, one character has a gun and another character has (possibly) poison, but it's okay. No one dies. (Maybe I should have marked that as a spoiler, but someone does get shot at and someone does swallow the doctored drink, and it's not like I just told you who and what precisely happens.)

The plot is shallow and not really a mystery. It was just what I was looking for, though. I did have a problem with the racist overtones in Dorrie's (and other characters') dislike of two foreign characters. The book was first published in 1980, which is plenty recent enough for authors to be more sensitive when it comes to issues of race.

But except for that, and the weird non-mystery-ness of this mystery, it's a fun little book.

Powell's link (used book)

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