Savannah Blues

October 30, 2008


Title: Savannah Blues
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Reader: Susan Ericksen
Audiobook 2006
Length: 12 hours

2 Stars

Available at:  The Audio Book Store

I may not be the right person to review this sort of book. Savannah Blues is certainly charming loaded with quirky characters and authentic southern atmosphere. In fairness perhaps this isn’t a mystery at all but rather a romance book.

Mary Kay Andrews, the author, does seem to want it both ways. The structure seems to be of a traditional mystery, our heroine, Eloise “Weezie” Foley, finds a body at a most inconvenient time and in a location that will be hard to explain. The body happens to be her ex-husband’s mistress and current fiancé. Unfortunately it takes quite awhile to get to this point because Andrews seem a bit distracted from the basic plot.

A large portion of this book is given over to a detailed discussion of antiques, the business of antiques, yard sales, estate sales. all in service of Weezie’s profession as a “picker.” If you enjoy watching Antiques Roadshow and the various junk in the attic variations on cable television this is the book for you! More time is given to descriptions of furniture, silver, glass ware, china than details of the murder. There is also much time given to the peripheral characters with a whole lot of sub plots involving the ex husband, dishonest antique sellers, a long ago boyfriend who appears on the scene and the obligatory wacky best friend.

All of this is enjoyable but the mystery portion of the book is pretty standard and the author relies on the device of having the murderer decide to explain all when it wasn’t necessary except to make it clear to the reader. All loose ends are neatly tied up by the end in ways that you can see coming long before.

Susan Ericksen narrates and gets the southern accents just right. Not making them into back woods types but changing them enough so that each character has his or her own style.

I’m probably being a bit too hard on this book, but Mary Kay Andrews built her reputation on covering Savannah’s infamous Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil murder trials, and it is clear she knows how to write. If she can devote as much time to plot development as character and atmosphere she has real shot at writing mysteries in the style of Janet Evanovich or Diane Mott Davidson.

A last point, when I hear the name Weezie I can only think of The Jeffersons on television. I guess I’m showing my age.

Reviewed on 10/28/08 by Robert W. Karp

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