Title: Board Stiff (Elliott Lisborn Mystery #1)
Author: Kendel Lynn
Publisher: Henery Press
Version Read: ebook ARC/galley
Publication Date: April 30th, 2013
Categories: crime, cozy-mystery, mystery,
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way reflects my feelings towards the book or the book’s review.
Summary (Goodreads): As director of the Ballantyne Foundation on Sea Pine Island, SC, Elliott Lisbon scratches her detective itch by performing discreet inquiries for Foundation donors. Usually nothing more serious than retrieving a pilfered Pomeranian. Until Jane Hatting, Ballantyne board chair, is accused of murder. The Ballantyne’s reputation tanks, Jane’s headed to a jail cell, and Elliott’s sexy ex is the new lieutenant in town.
Armed with moxie and her Mini Coop, Elliott uncovers a trail of blackmail schemes, gambling debts, illicit affairs, and investment scams. But the deeper she digs to clear Jane’s name, the guiltier Jane looks. The closer she gets to the truth, the more treacherous her investigation becomes: a brutal attack on her own suspect and the murder of a witness. With victims piling up faster than shells at a clambake, Elliott realises she’s next on the killer’s list.
Board Stiff was a pretty good cosy mystery. It has all the proper elements – amateur sleuth, unexpected murder, several suspects, and a big ol’ mystery surround the circumstances of the murder. Elliott, or Elli, as her friends call her, is the director of the Ballantyne Foundation, and is essentially charged with keeping the board members out of too much strife.
We start the book off at a party for the Ballantyne Foundation, and Elli is forced into damage-control after the Board Chair, Jane gets into a very public and nasty fight with Leo, our eventual victim. After eventually shepherding the guest home as the party finished, Elli gets home at about 2 am. Unfortunately, the fight between the two board members is going to be the least of her problems, as Elli is the one to discover the body of Leo. Whilst tragic enough, it’s compounded by the fact the Elli is a germaphobe and fainted in a couple of her criminology classes at university.
Whilst I enjoyed seeing that particular quirk in Elliott, one thing did annoy me quite a bit. For someone who doesn’t eat seafood (because of the germs, I think) and carries several bottles of hand-sanitiser on her person at all times, I don’t understand how she could quite happily eat blue cheese. It’s covered with mould/has mould through it, hence the blue in the name. I don’t care if it’s ‘edible’ mould, as a non-germaphobe I like my cheese mould-free, I’m not sure how she could eat cheese that’s like 1/4 mould. This is a bigger issues than it would ordinarily be because she eats blue cheese quite a few times in the book and it just seemed very contradictory. (I know, I know, I’m a weirdo, sorry. Also I think blue cheese is yucky, but that’s not actually relevant.)
The mystery surrounding Leo’s death was well-plotted and it wasn’t easy to figure out who the killer was, until Elli started to figure it out, then it became quite clear. There were about 6 suspects found throughout, some glaringly obvious, others not so much, and it was good not to have figured out who the killer was before it was revealed.
As is fairly normal in cosy mysteries, Elli got herself into a few pickles, especially in terms of what she did and did not disclose to Nick Ransom, the town’s new Lieutenant. He is less than thrilled when she investigates the case herself, although she is essentially being paid to do so by the Ballantynes. Adding legitimacy to her investigation is the fact that she is working on getting her hours up for her PI license and he grudgingly allows her investigation to continue. He’s also her ex-boyfriend from about 20 years ago and there is quite clearly some unresolved issues there. Oddly Elliott seems a lot younger than that, though she did mention she was 40.
Overall this was quite enjoyable, if a little bit slow at times. If you enjoy cosy mysteries, then you will enjoy this one too.