While searching through webpages of oodles of titles of cozy mysteries, I came across this one. It interested me, first because it was classified as a cozy mystery, second, the idea of a mystery series surrounding a guy who owns a movie theatre sounds interesting, and third, the cover was kinda quirky, but neat, and the title is bonus eye candy I think.
The story is about theater owner Elliot Freed, a recovering writer (in which his book was converted into film and was horribly done) who collects alimony from his ex-wife (imagine that?!), and with the money made from his book and the alimony has decided to open up a theatre featuring only comedy movies. Things start looking bleak when “the guy in row S, seat 18 was dead, all right” (quote from the first page of the book). Death by poisoned popcorn. Then an employee disappears, pirated DVD’s appear out of nowhere in his theater basement, and there’s quite a number of suspects to investigate. Elliot takes matters into his own hands and tries to head his own kind of investigation despite warnings from police not to interfere, but it’s his movie theatre involved and he’ll do everything to put things right.
The first few pages of the book I was a little hesitant. There were quite a few references to movies I have never heard of or seen before – then again I’m not a movie buff at all. I barely watch them (as I prefer reading) and only will do so once in a while to take a break from reading. However I decided to stick with the book. I have to make my 100 page limit to see if I’m still interested. I was interested sooner than that. It actually got me hooked. Elliot is quirky, sarcastic and witty without being overly silly. The comedy in this mystery is well written and well done. The mystery and intrigue is also well done so there’s a good striking balance between the two. I have to say there were at least two or three parts of the book where I found myself bursting out in giggles because of Elliot’s wit and actions. I’d have to say I greatly enjoyed reading this book. I thought I had the mystery solved in my head – yet I was surprised. It was nothing like I had pictured and it’s good! I didn’t want a predictable outcome of the mystery. I believe I was close to the answer, but not quite as I had thought.
The characters in the book are all right, although the ones that have something to do with Elliot’s personal life weren’t really that outstanding – although I have to say, I liked Elliot’s father (he reminded me a bit of a mix between Seinfeld’s dad and George’s dad from the Seinfeld show) and added more to the comedy, I’d like to see more of him in the next future books. When it comes to Elliot’s love life, it’s funny too as he doesn’t seem to be headed in the right direction with any of the ones he meets except his ex-wife (which for some reason, I didn’t really like her in the book she just didn’t seem to be a great character in my opinion). They both seem to have a very different sort of relationship you wouldn’t find in most divorced couples but perhaps that adds more to the quirkiness of this book.
The criticism I find in this book is the references to movies which I have never seen before and therefore can’t really understand. Yet I’m sure if there’s movie buffs out there that love reading about movies and who know their movie trivia would probably enjoy this book ten times more than I did (not to say I didn’t enjoy reading this! I truly did!). If I knew the movies and understood the references, I would probably be chuckling a lot more than I did while reading. Other than that, there really is nothing else I dislike about this book.
Overall, a wonderful light story with an equal amount of mystery and comedy that makes it a delightful read. This is definitely a series to look into if you’re a cozy mystery fan. If you’re a movie buff, give this book a try as well. Perhaps you’ll be able to identify some of the movies mentioned in this book.
I give it a 9 out of 10.