This review was personally requested by the author:
The murder mystery novel, Classic Revenge, is great for those wishing to relax and find enjoyment while reading. From the start, when Susan Wiley is murdered in her bath tub, the reader begins trying to decipher which of the other characters in the novel committed the crime. As the story unfolds, Kelly provides a light mood despite difficult circumstances with her depictions of Susan’s caring and eccentric neighbors, Trish, Edna, and Millie. Although in their seventies and eighties, Susan’s girlfriends are determined to absolve Susan’s husband, Sam Wiley, of a crime they are certain he did not commit.
The plot of the novel is a familiar one: an innocent man is accused of a horrific act. Although the elderly neighbors imagine Desperate Housewives forty years in the future, are certain Sam is incapable of murder, the reader must remain suspicious of every person who enters the picture. As opposed to texts where many characters enter into the equation, Kelly leaves room for few suspects. Instead, most of the scenes and dialogue focus on the relations among the three women. While the women joke about searching for the killer and obsess about their weight and food, little crime solving occurs.
Despite the likability of the ladies, something is lacking in terms of believability. For instance, it is doubtful many people would enter the house of their recently murdered friend and make jokes instead of being fearful. Similarly as they spy on and question potential murderers their lack of seriousness seems out of place. Still, the tone the author chooses may be preferable to those who scare easily or are looking for a book that doesn’t require too much analysis.
The characters and dialogue are not written to perfection. At times it seems as though the descriptions of the women’s personality traits and behaviors are exaggerated and unnecessary. Trish, for example, focuses on her exercise machine and unwillingness to work out on several occasions. But, even though the reader understands that she, like most women, struggles with her weight, little insight into her real thoughts and emotions is revealed. As the women banter about who to follow and how to deal with the town police Chief, Henry Espinoza, the portrayal of their behaviors is unwarranted. Millie is aggressive, Edna, kind and meek, and Trish frustrated. Either the women’s centrality to the text should be lessened, or there should be more detailed storylines involving their lives outside of the case.
When the case is the main focus of the book, the reader can be attentive and curious about the end result. Admittedly the conclusion is not difficult to decipher as only a few more suspects are thrown into the mix. Had the author focused more attention on the case, and less on the women’s actions, she would have been able to include more people in the plot line, thus making the crime and its perpetrator more of a mystery.
While some people prefer considering possibilities and enjoy dissecting texts, there is no doubt that others would rather read and let the story unfold for them. For the latter, Classic Revenge is a success. People who enjoy quirky murder mysteries, this one’s for you.