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Little Shop of Murders by Susan Goodwill
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Little Shop of Murders

by Susan Goodwill

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Kate London is already worried about money - her amateur theatre group, the Mudd Lake Players, is struggling to survive - and the last thing she needs is to be robbed while standing in line at the bank. To add insult to injury- she was robbed by an octogenarian in a bathrobe wielding a banana as the holdup weapon. Kate and her eccentric Aunt Kitty are bound and determined to catch Walter, but soon find themselves involved with murder, the Treasury Department, a biker gang, and even a repo man.

"Little Shop of Murders" is a humorous cozy mystery that is long on humor and short on plot. The book is filled with eccentric characters - Kate, her ex-movie star aunt, Walter, a cop named Elvis-Pressley, a repo man and many more. There is also plenty of action - murder, bank robberies, car chases, explosions, and even the play "Little Shop of Horrors." There are even two love interests for Kate. All of this sounds, and should have been, interesting but it never quite worked for me. The book is very funny but the humor is over the top at times and kept me from ever really being interested in the murder plotline. Many of the characters seemed thrown into the book just for the sake of humor. The murder mystery does have a few good moments but often gets lost in the humorous bits. There are plenty of suspects but I found the identity of the murderer to be a bit of a copout. There are a lot of things happening in the book (the play, the bank robbery, a sausage festival, biker's gangs) and it was hard keeping characters straight in my mind.

"Little Shop of Murders" is a funny but lightweight cozy mystery. ( )
  drebbles | Jul 10, 2013 |
Kate London and her seven-times-married Aunt Kitty (she doesn’t remember her ex-husbands’ names, but she does remember the cars they drove) are in quite a pickle. While in line at Mudd Lake Savings to make a cash deposit, they’re robbed by an eccentric old man wielding a banana. The robbery puts the Egyptian Theatre, which Kate owns, in dire financial jeopardy just before the opening of "A Little Shop of Horrors."Then Kate stumbles across the body of a bank officer who was related by marriage to the robber.

So we have an aging septuagenarian B-movie star who’s a regular Mrs. Malaprop, and her hormonal, hiccupping niece as our intrepid heroines. The agency that rented the Mudd Lake Players a puppet of Audrey II, one of the play’s main characters, has sent a repo man for it and he’s camped out next to the theater. Kate needs to get her cash back to save the day for the Egyptian and allow the show to go on. Since Kate is a recently inducted auxiliary deputy to Mudd Lake (Michigan) Sheriff Ben Williamson, who’s also a dental student and Kate’s would-be beau, Kate feels she has the authority to investigate both crimes.

Little Shop of Murders reminds me of Donna Andrews’ Meg Lanslow series, in which mystery plays second fiddle to silliness. Readers who look for believability will want to pick a different book. Little Shop of Murders didn’t exactly have me laughing out loud – although there were funny moments. I thought a bit more backstory on Kate and Kitty would have been helpful. Still, it is a lighthearted story with good writing and a plot that hangs together well enough. I’m certain some readers will find Little Shop of Murders much more satisfying than I did.

By Diana. First published in Mystery News, June-July 2008 Issue. ( )
  NewsieQ | Jul 10, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0738710482, Paperback)

When Walter, a bathrobe-clad octogenarian, robs the bank using a concealed banana as the hold-up weapon, Kate and Aunt Kitty speed after him in Kitty's mammoth 1974 Eldorado convertible. But instead of retrieving their cold hard cash, they find a still-warm dead body, much to the consternation of a certain sexy sheriff who happens to be Kate's person of interest in the boyfriend department. Things go from bad to worse when Kate's ex-flame from the Treasury Department and a quart-low biker gang - the Devil's Cheerleaders - get involved in the mayhem. Despite continuous misadventures - from Sausage Festival pandemonium to a malfunctioning giant man-eating plant from Splotski's Theatre Rentals - Kate and Kitty are determined that the show must go on.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:46 -0400)

Kate and Aunt Kitty are at the bank depositing their hard-earned fundraiser proceeds when Walter, a bathrobe-clad octogenarian, robs the bank using a banana. Kate and Kitty speed off in Kitty's mammoth white 1974 Eldorado convertible to retrieve their funds, but find a dead body instead. Handsome Sheriff Ben arrives, but not until after the murderers have come calling. Things get stickier when the Treasury Department and a biker gang - the Devil's Cheerleaders - get involved, too. Despite continuous misadventures - from Sausage Festival pandemonium to unsympathetic law enforcement officials in unattractive shoes to a malfunctioning giant man-eating plant from Splotski's Theatre Rentals -… (more)

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