Death by Didgeridoo is the first in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series. It is a is short, really quick read – a straightforward mystery.
The premise is simple: Jamie Quinn is a sometime lawyer who is currently dragging herself through the motions of living as a result of the death of her mother. She is pulled back into her profession by a phone call from her mother’s sister, Aunt Peg. Peg’s son, Adam, a young adult with Asperger’s syndrome, has been taken to the police station after being found standing over the bloody body of Spike, owner of a music store and former member of the rock group The Screaming Zombies. Adam took music lessons from Spike, had blood on his hands and is the owner of the didgeridoo used to bash in Spike’s head.
Jamie, who is not a criminal lawyer, calls her friend Grace, who used to be a public defender, for advice, because she is going to have to confront Nick Dimitropoulas. Nick is the greasy, politically motivated state’s attorney and is determined to indict Adam. Jamie consults with the smart public defender, Susan Doyle, who is assigned Adam’s case and who tells Jamie to find an investigator to run down various leads. Jamie calls Duke Broussard, an investigator who owes her a favor from when she handled his divorce. Identifying and ruling out Spike’s enemies as the murderer occupies Duke and Jamie for the remainder of the book.
What I did like about Death by Didgeridoo: the light, somewhat quirky sense of humor; and the nicely developed main characters: Jamie, Aunt Peg, Spike (the victim, even though he was already dead at the start of the book), and of course Duke. Duke – a tan, alcohol-soaked, woman chaser – may be one of my all-time favorite investigators. The dialog was good, except for the texts between Jamie and Grace, which were a little too complex for that medium and came across as stilted.
There are a few things that I didn’t like. First, Jamie, in addition to telling her story, frequently breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the reader directly. It’s an option to engage the reader, but not one that I personally prefer because it takes me out of the story. I wanted further development of other characters; however, as I said, this book is short and thus doesn’t allow much space in which to do that. I hope future books will accomplish this. Finally, the formatting really distracted me after a while.
I was hoping for a somewhat more complicated mystery. This one was very simple, with a limited number of possible suspects, and proceeded directly from point A to point B with no complications.
That being said, I think this book will appeal to quite a few mystery readers, definitely a beach read. I’d like to see more in the other books in this series.
About the author:
Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.
She is the author of “Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person”; “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, “If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”; and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of the “Quirky Essays for Quirky People” series. Both books of humorous essays won the “Indie Book of the Day” award.
Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo,” “The Case of the Killer Divorce,” “Peril in the Park,” and “Engaged in Danger”. Coming out in 2016, “Jeopardy in July”. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.