The Trouble with Funerals by Joan Havelange

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The Trouble with Funerals by Joan Havelange
Mabel and Violet’s Excellent Adventures, Book 3
Publisher: BWL Publishing INC
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The trouble with funerals is there are too many of them. Mabel’s mother is convinced there is something nefarious going on at the senior’s condo ‘Gravenhurst Manor.’ She convinces her daughter to look into the death of her best friend, Mini, who died in suspicious circumstances. If there is a cold, calculating murderer at work. Mabel needs to find the killer before it’s too late. Her mother could be next. But what is the motive? Why would anyone want to kill a senior? And her main suspect has a perfect alibi, namely Mabel.

Her reliable sidekick Violet is no longer reliable. Violet may have gotten herself involved with a con-man. Against the backdrop of the peaceful little town of Glenhaven, Mabel’s challenge is to solve the motiveless murders; and save Violet from herself.

Who would ever want to hurt senior citizens?

It made me smile to see so many references to Canadian culture here. The author did a great job of showcasing some of the many things that make Canada unique. There were some specific items like certain local foods mentioned for readers who have lived in this country or are otherwise intimately familiar with it, but they were always explained in enough detail that people from other parts of the world can get in on the fun, too.

I noticed multiple punctuation and other errors in this book. Some of them made certain sentences difficult to understand, so I needed to reread them a few times to figure out which meaning was most likely. This was especially noticeable when a character’s first name suddenly changed at one point only to switch back to what it had been previously a few paragraphs later. Had there been another round or two of editing, I would have happily chosen a higher rating as the storyline itself was well done.

The cast of characters was large but easy to keep track of. I appreciated the fact that the author reminded readers of the relationships between certain folks who only showed up occasionally. That helped me remember who they were and when Mabel had last seen them.

This is the third instalment in a series. It can be read out of order or as a standalone work.

The Trouble with Funerals was a delightfully Canadian cozy mystery that I’d recommend to anyone who is intrigued by one or both of those topics.

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