Voice is always so interesting in novels. There are number of authors that if I read a paragraph or two I might be able to figure out the author within a couple of guesses. Some have such a distinctive way of writing, while others, not so much.
MaryJo Dawson is an author with such a voice in her writing. I found her style of writing in this particular novel to be unique and quite distinctive. It is a quality that can add to a novel-reading experience.
**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
Sally Nimitz is a widow living in a small mid-western town with a satisfying ordinary life. She is invited to visit her neighbor one afternoon, an elderly lady with a charming English accent. When she arrives for the appointment, the lady is lying on her kitchen floor, dead from a blow to the head. Sally finds herself drawn into the puzzling crime; why would anyone want to kill Mrs. Marsh? As she looks for answers, Sally discovers a talent dormant within herself for solving such a puzzle. With the aid of two friends this budding female sleuth learns Amelia Marsh’s life was a mystery in itself, and there are secrets hidden in her past.
“Mrs. Marsh didn’t answer the doorbell. I knew she was there; she had, in fact, asked me to come by.”
-First lines of The Death of Amelia Marsh
Characters: Characters can mean the difference between a good novel and poor one. In this case, the main characters populating this novel came across as very real. I wouldn’t be surprised to walk out my door and bump into a couple of them, except that I live in the wrong state for that to happen. But in all honesty, the main character, Sally Nimitz, comes across as a very authentic person. Even the secondary characters are developed well. The only one who isn’t is the deceased Amelia Marsh, and if we knew her, that wouldn’t have left much of a story.
Storyline: This novel offered quite a bit of mystery within it’s story. Sally is trying to figure out who wanted her neighbor dead, and there is no one around who seems to have any sort of grudge against her elderly neighbor. When new information was presented, it seemed to be more interesting the more we found out. By the end of the story, I was quite eager to find out who killed Amelia Marsh.
My Thoughts: While the characters and the storyline were quite well developed, I found myself frustrated quite often with the pace of the novel. There were a lot of details that didn’t feel necessary to the story. Had they been left out, I would have moved through it much faster and enjoyed the novel quite a bit better overall. The slow unravel of the mystery left just the right amount of intrigue to keep me interested.
About the Author:
MaryJo Dawson enjoyed a satisfying career as a practicing nurse, most of it working in obstetrics. In her heroine, Sally Nimitz, she’s combined that background with a lifelong enjoyment of old-fashioned mystery novels and writing.
She lives with her husband in a small town at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in southeastern Colorado.