Archive for the ‘Balloons Can Be Murder’ Category

OK, so everyone has their ‘guilty reading pleasure’ and mine is Connie Shelton’s CompetitionCanBeMurderCharlie Parker mystery series. I’m a courtroom drama, police procedural man (think Harry Bosch, 87th Precinct) but something about this series struck my fancy many years ago. I thought they’d been discontinued in the early 2000s but found out Shelton’s been writing them continuously, the last one being published in 2012 (14 in the series, so far). Good for me….I have a few to catch up on.

I started catching up with number 8, Competition Can Be Murder. Towards the middle of the book, I realized I had read it, but really didn’t remember much.

Let me set the background. Charlie Parker (a CPA turned sleuth) and her brother run a private detective business in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her parents died when she was a teenager. The closest thing she has to a mother is her octogenarian next door neighbor (think the female version of Henry in Sue Granfton’s Kinsey Millhone series). She loves her dog, Rusty (I don’t remember the breed). In book 2, Vacations Can Be Murder, she meets Drake Langston, a helicopter pilot in Hawaii. They marry and move back to New Mexico. Between book 2 and 8, Charlie gets her helicopter pilot’s license. So, now you’re caught up.

In Competition Can Be Murder, Charlie and Drake head to Scotland to help out one of Drake’s pilot friends, Brian. Brian’s mother is not well and he must leave his business to be with her. The business, shuttling workers to and from oil rigs in the North Sea, is taking business away from boat operators, who are unionized. The pilots are not. Will the unions take matters into their own hands?

Additionally, Charlie and Drake are renting a cottage on the grounds of Dunworthy, owned by the Dunbars, an extremely old Scottish clan. One day Robert and Sarah Dunbar find their grandson, Richie, is missing when they receive a ransom note. Charlie made the mistake of saying she was in the sleuthing business and gets embroiled in finding Richie.

What do I like about this easy going series? I like the characters. Charlie and Drake truly love each other. There’s a relationship between them…the kind that married couples have. I don’t recall another series like this. Of course, I love the fact they have a dog, especially one named Rusty, which was the name of my first dog. There’s enough action to please most readers. I don’t remember any endings that come out of nowhere. If you can say that a mystery is an ‘enjoyable’ read, then this is the series.

Next is Balloons Can Be Murder, which there is a chance I’ve also read but since my memory is like a sieve, I’m sure I won’t remember until I’m half way through.

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