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River City Dead–mystery with a Fiesta setting

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River City Dead

by Nancy G. Westriver-city-dead

Setting is extremely important in River City Dead.  The title refers to San Antonio, TX, and the story focuses on the River Walk there during Fiesta week.  The author has done her homework in researching the historical and cultural background, and a lot of it is shared with the reader as Aggie, the heroine of this cozy mystery, takes her boyfriend Sam on a tour of the River Walk area. Some readers may feel the inclusion of this much background is too pedantic, but I enjoyed and appreciated it.

Aggie and Sam, a detective with the San Antonio Police Department, are set to take their relationship to the next level in a penthouse suite in a luxurious River Walk hotel.  Sam has arranged days off to be with Aggie for this special time.  As might be expected, things do not go as planned as a series of crimes occur requiring Sam’s attention and luring Aggie into sorting out mysterious events.

There is constant conflict as Aggie loves to get involved in investigative work and Sam tries to protect her. There are also limits she needs to put on herself to avoid hindering a police investigation.  Obviously this sets the couple up for relationship issues in addition to the trust issues Aggie already has.

The Aggie Mundeen Mystery Series is known for its humor.  This one starts off with a humorous chapter, but quickly deviates as the investigation unfolds.  I like the book, but I do have two criticisms. One is the frequent repetition of Aggie’s trust issues caused by someone in her past, Lascivious Lester.  Once that problem is established, I think the reader is ready to move on.  The other issue is how readily Aggie refers to and treats women she meets as “friends.”  It seems like an unrealistically brief amount of time–the length of a lunch or the sharing of a glass of wine. I consider those people acquaintances, not friends.

I must give special kudos to two parts of West’s writing.  One is the description of an elderly couple interacting in the swimming pool. It is absolutely beautiful.  The other is the technique of using her job in responding to “Dear Aggie” advice letters to help Aggie reflect on her own life and relationships. This approach works well because it is not overused.

This mystery has a lot of threads, an unusual method for murder, and an ingenious resolution.  I recommend it for cozy mystery lovers.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery & Thriller, General Fiction–Adult

Notes: This is number 4 in the series. I have read one other and have found that they may be enjoyed as standalones.

Publication:   Henery Press–January 17, 2017

Memorable Lines: 

To calm the jumping beans in my stomach, I decided to make a quick detour to Barnes and Noble.  (Blogger’s note: it didn’t work out too well in the story, but I think it is great advice!)

Whatever else was happening in his life, as a law officer, crime tracked him like an insidious nasty aroma.

Integrity is knowing the right thing and doing it.

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