Diner Impossible by Terri Austin has got one thing right. It is impossible to comprehend. At least to me! There is a mystery, but is it cozy? I will let you decide when you hear what I have to say.
Rosalyn Strickland or Rose is an uber rich girl from the country club set who works as a diner waitress. After reading this title, and the previous title in this series ‘Diners, Dives and Dead Ends’, it seemed to me that the author was a food network fan – these titles are a play on popular shows on that channel. And I thought food would figure big in this book. But there is not much of a correlation with a diner in the book, apart from the fact that our leading lady works as a waitress and is a whiz at pouring coffee. The diner is not the scene of the crime, nor does working there give any special insight to our girl. In a similar analogy, the Tea Shop mysteries are set in a fine tea shop, and almost all mysteries feature some exotic tea, not to mention the yummy food you go across while reading the book.
Rose is dating a criminal who is into illegal gambling, and she is fine with it. once again, there are shades of Nora Blackbird’s Mick Abruzzo. The difference is, Mick is trying to break away from a mob business and is clean himself. In a small town in Missouri, the police chief, prosecutor and judge have a shady partnerships and are taking kickbacks. A woman is killed. She was supposedly having an affair with the police chief. A conscientious officer ropes in Rose to solve the murder. So does her mother. Rose goes through trials and tribulations shopping for designer clothes that cost her mother hundreds of dollars, and endures fancy balls and teas in the country club. She is assisted by her buddy Roxy who dresses like pirates and is recovering from heartbreak. Rose’s motley crew also consists of the elderly diner owner ‘ma’, and a geeky friend Axton. Some side entertainment (I wish) is provided by the Klingons and Fleeties who are fighting over some stolen jacket. No, not on TV. They are real and very much part of the book! Axton has a pot smoking friend who is very reminiscent of Mooner from the Stephanie Plum books.
Rose stumbles along insulting important people, asking embarrassing questions to her mother’s chagrin. More bodies are going to drop and the end will shock you. But what will shock you more is Rose feeling sorry for the murderer and thinking they are blameless. I’m not sure if there is some ‘dark’ business going on here. Is Rose supposed to be a negative character? Or is she evolving into one? (spoiler begin)Another important aspect of Rose’s character is that she is thrilled to hear that her boyfriend is ready to kill for her. She prefers this sentiment to the run of the mill ‘I Love You’. (spoiler end).
I think Diner Impossible is supposed to be cozy and humorous. It may even appear so to some. But for some reason, I wasn’t able to get into it. Maybe it was because too many characters or themes reminded me of distributed characters in other books. It could be because I read too many books?
I think you will have to read this one yourself and tell me if you agree with me. Or tell me if I am just being over critical!
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