Thursday, November 24, 2016

Send In The Clowns

Send in the Clowns (The Country Club Murders #4)

Send in the Clowns is the fourth in the Country Club Murders and this series just keeps humming along. This time it's fall and Ellison Russell finds another body- only this time the victim dies in front of her. In a fun house. Dressed as a clown. Yes she's in a fun house, looking for her daughter who broke curfew, and ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ellison has an amazing knack for finding trouble, and this time things take a pretty dark turn with a victim who is an ex- addict, a trust fund situation and the usual country club entanglements. 

Ellison soon learns that there are links between the the murder and people she knows, and as usual the fascinating part of the story are the relationships. You'd think that the schtick would be getting old after four books- Ellison finds a body, gets in over her head, and mixed detective work with country club intrigue- but the characters keep me coming back. Ellison is simply a lot of fun, and at the same time you feel for her- here's a woman accustomed to privilege and yet she's remarkably down to earth, trying to raise her daughter after losing her husband, who was no saint.

The other thing of course is her love life- or lack thereof. She has not one but two devoted suitors- the detective Anarchy Jones and the silver haired attorney Hunter Tafft. Either would be a good match, from what I can see, but Ellison is not ready for a relationship yet- even though she's attracted to both. She doesn't need a man to take care of her, thank you very much, and in this one she gets quite irritated with everyone trying to protect her- or manage her, as the case may be. Her sharp tongued mother is of course on hand to supply the snark, but this time we get some evolution in her relationship with her father as well, which is new.   

I'm still undecided who I prefer- Anarchy or Hunter. They both complement her well, in different ways, but I like that the author is taking her time with this. Realistically not a lot of time has passed since Ellison lost her husband, so it's natural that she wants time- especially under the circumstances. And Ellison is a strong woman in a setting- the 70's- where a lot of people are still coming to terms with it. Speaking of the 70's, the references were, as usual, delightful and I got a laugh out of the scene where a cell phone would have come in very handy- but nope, no can do! 

The only real issue I have is that everything seems a little too connected, too convenient-  some of the connections in the mystery just fall into place, or at least I thought so. The odds of this or that happening seem a bit too much of a stretch. But I don't come here for the mysteries as much as I do for Ellison, Anarchy, Hunter, and the country club set (and I enjoyed Libba this time around as well). There's card games, brunches, gossip and all the backstabbing you'd expect from this well-to-do bunch. Ellison's a riot, the 70's setting is unique, and the mysteries are fun. This is my favorite mystery series right now. 


  1. First up, what a distinctly not-clown-like cover! I am so taken with the 70s setting too. But, is this a cozy? I feel like it must be, but I am new to the genre, and I could be wrong?

  2. "But I don't come here for the mysteries as much as I do for Ellison, Anarchy, Hunter, and the country club set"

    Exactly!! Which is why I can't wait to read this... even if the mystery part is a little too convenient. Great review, Greg.

  3. Great review. I actually checked out the series on GR and saw that there's only 4 published but 9 slated so far. I love this sort of cozy series where you can really enjoy the characters and their development along the way and this sounds like something I would enjoy. A little bit of mystery and a lot of good characters. :)

    Great review!

  4. I love the cover for this one. It won't scare any of the people who are afraid of clowns away. :-) I am glad you continue to enjoy this series, Greg. I need to start it.

  5. I like the time period; I was a teen about that time. The 70s were a weird bridge between 60s and the 80s. Sounds like a fun series and we all know you have to suspend some belief in all copies 😀

  6. I am pretty sure I have the first book in this series, but haven't read it yet. It sounds like a good one! I often find the characters in cozy mysteries one of the best parts. And it's a good sign when a series doesn't get old after a few books and even with the concept staying the same each book is different enough and enjoyable. I like how in cozies the romance is often a bit more drawn out and those love triangles where both suitors are a good match are the best ones. I really have to start this series soon! Great review!