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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Hooke

Review of 'Aunt Bessie Assumes'

Aunt Bessie Assumes

By Diana Xarissa, 2014

Cozy mystery, Adult fiction

Rating: 👻👻👻 (3 out of 4 boos)

“Aunt Bessie assumes that she'll have the beach all to herself on a cold, wet, and windy March morning just after sunrise, then she stumbles (almost literally) over a dead body. Aunt Bessie assumes that the dead man died of natural causes, then the police find the knife in his chest.

Elizabeth (Bessie) Cubbon, aged somewhere between free bus pass (60) and telegram from the Queen (100), has lived her entire adult life in a small cottage on Laxey beach. For most of those years, she's been in the habit of taking a brisk morning walk along the beach. Dead men have never been part of the scenery before.

Try as she might, Bessie just can't find anything to like about the young widow that she provides tea and sympathy to in the immediate aftermath of finding the body. There isn't much to like about the rest of the victim's family either.

Aunt Bessie assumes that the police will have the case wrapped up in no time at all, then she finds a second body. Can Bessie and her friends find the killer before she ends up as the next victim?”

What is the main character like?

Bessie is the town “aunt,” a friendly woman with treats and conversation for the local youth whenever they need it. She is, as some would say, an elderly woman, but she despises being called that, and defies ageist stereotypes by taking long walks, reading avidly, and having a social life. Lately, she’s even enmeshed herself in a local mystery.

How scary is it?

As the genre of cozy mystery implies, this book is not so much scary but more of a standard mystery with a quaint seaside location. There are, however, references to murder, sexuality, and drugs, and there are some scenes that put Bessie or others in danger.

Who might like this book?

This book is out of my blog’s comfort zone because X is a tricky letter when it comes to author last names. Therefore, this book will probably not be the best fit for middle grade or young adult readers, but rather adult readers who appreciate a solid mystery tale with a British setting.

What did I like best?

It seems part of “cozy” means some slice-of-life details that don’t always relate to the mystery at hand. I liked a lot of these scenes: Bessie preparing a delicious Italian dinner, Bessie shopping for books, etc.

What wasn’t my favorite?

It turns out the cozy mystery genre isn’t my favorite. I’m much more interested in ghosts, witches, vampires, and the like. But that’s a personal preference and is no reflection of the book.

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