Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Southern Fried Nancy Drew

A negative reviewer on Amazon gave Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews a single star and lambasted it with, "If you're craving a Southern fried version of Nancy Drew and her pals, then carry on." Well, obviously my taste is not as refined as this reviewers because while I agreed with her assessment, I thought this book was great fun, even with some flaws, but I love Nancy Drew, too! I would characterize it as Southern Chick Lit With Mystery. Anyway, the story is about Weezie, a divorcee who won the carriage house behind her carefully renovated once-home (which her husband and his new fiancee, the atrocious Caroline, now live). Weezie is a "picker," scouring yard sales and dumpsters for hidden treasures that she can fix up and sell to antiques dealers. Sneaking into an estate sale early to answer a call of nature, she stumbles over Caroline's body and is promptly arrested for the murder. The story is slowed a bit by chapters from the point of view of Uncle James, Weezie's attorney, which were really unnecessary and I can't believe they weren't edited out. Weezie, her best friend Bebe, and Daniel, the attractive chef at Bebe's restaurant, set out to solve the murder themselves and clear Weezie's name. There really wasn't much suspense in this one, but the bumbling crime-solving trio, Southern charm, and insight into the antiques business made it a lot of fun. I recommend this as an excellent beach read.

After reading Savannah Blues, I picked up Savannah Breeze, the sequel, which details Bebe's life following her financial ruin at the hands of a handsome con man (she's distracted by family issues at the time). Apparently, Ms. Andrews has trouble deciding which story she's telling, because in this one, too, there are chapters from a secondary character's point of view--this time, Weezie's. I found this distracting and didn't think it added to the story at all, but other than that, I thought this was even more fun than the first book. Bebe discovers that she is now owner of the Breeze Motel on Tybee Beach (the con man, Reddy, hadn't had time to unload it before splitting), and she decides to make a go of renovating and running the Breeze. With the help of Weezie and the Breeze's on-site manager, the handsome and unrefined Harry, Bebe sets out to get back what Reddy has stolen from her when the police decline to pursue him. Another fun beach read.

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