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Murder A Cappella Paperback – February 24, 2012
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I was a little dubious at first, only checking out the book because of its subject. I didn't know the author or the publisher, and sometimes that can lead to a huge disappointment. But I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the book. While the mystery did not stump me--I had my suspect picked out early on, motive and everything, and every new piece of info I had about that person rang true to the murder--I felt that it could stump others. There was also a twist about the murders, and that did fool me for a short while near the end.
I did have to suspend disbelief on a clue that Tina, the main character--a Sweet Adeline and police officer--did not catch on to right away. The clue itself was a little convoluted, but still fun to puzzle out for the reader. But as a fellow Sweet Adeline, certain aspects of the clue were clear to me right away, and I didn't have the advantage that Tina would have had.
It was fun to see the International competition stuff in between the mystery. Having been to my first Regional competition a few months ago, I felt like I understood a lot of what Tina was going through in her first International competition, though hers was obviously bigger. And I had to laugh every time she mentioned an experience that I thought was just our chorus, but clearly is a more universal thing.
As often happens in a mystery, there's a big showdown between Tina and the murderer. While I wish this had taken place in a setting that was more related to the rest of the plot, I did like that Tina was dressed in her red, sequined, performance dress, still connecting it back to the Sweet Adeline competition.
Recommended for fans of: Sweet Adelines; barbershop; mysteries; books about music; books about competitions; books set in Texas; punny clues; ringing chords; big hair, outrageous make-up, and colorful costumes
quote: Shutting down the speculation was about as likely as teaching armidillos not to become roadkill.
quote: Some of the habits I'd developed as a single working mother clung to me like staticky clothes from the dryer.
Delightful paragraph: They say being famous is not as easy or glamorous as it looks. As the afternoon stretched on, I believed it. Dozens of women approached to compliment our performance. I accepted their congratulations with as much grace as I could muster, but after several hours my graciousness had leaked out. I squirmed in my seat, hot, and hungry for something better than another hotdog. . . . By the end of the day, the only things holding me together were bobby pins and the vice grip of my makeup.
I love books that show me another world, another process, another way that I would never see on my own. I know I did not learn the whole of the world of the Sweet Adelines, but what I did see was fascinating. There was little blood to the murders, but there was lots of police investigation told from the viewpoint of a singer at a Sweet Adeline competition, held at the Alamo, who was also a policewoman.
I can recommend this book to anybody who doesn't need a lot of explosions in their literature to stay happy.
Murder a Cappela is a great book about a bunch of ladies who sing in the Sweet Adeline"s barbershop harmony group. Tina and her friend Angela are just 2 of the several hundred singers who have converged on San Antonio, Texas for the International Barbershop contest. Before the 1st exhibition is over, 2 of their own are shot to death as they preformed. 2 more would soon end up dead, one shot, the other a suspected suicide. Tina, a cop from Ft. Worth and Angela find themselves embroiled in helping the local police, the lead detective having worked with Tina previously and needing any help he can get. As suspect after suspect is cleared, it seems as if the real killer will never be found.
We are taken through the backstage scenes of the this large gathering of women preparing for their appearance. I laughed out loud at the descriptions of the costumes the ladies wore, and at the thought of hundreds of ladies, all decked out in their pastel colored stripes to their extra red, red lipstick. The ladies had to wear their traveling stripes whenever they were out and about, changing to their costumes when preforming.
Mr. Callan has written 2 other mysteries, that I am aware of, A Ton of Gold and Cleansed by Fire. I think perhaps this time I have learned a valuable lesson, just 'cause he's a man, is no reason to think that he can't write a cozy that will capture my interest.
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