Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Decked - Carol Higgins Clark

By: Carol Higgins Clark
Published: 1992
My rating: Good

I read this book to my wife and we enjoyed it. However, it was a little bit rough which we chalked up to the fact that this was Carol's first novel.It didn't measure up to her mother's work, but we are hoping that she got better with time.

Regan Reilly is a fun character to read about. She has a wry sense of humor and her outlook on the situations life puts her in are fun and refreshing. She is supposed to be a private investigator but in this story, most of the detective work is done by others. She is a very independent sort and I had to sympathize with her frustration at being hired to babysit Veronica.

We really loved Veronica! For an old lady she sure was full of life! Her irrepressible excitement about the cruise and the people they were traveling with was hilarious. We very much enjoyed hearing about her escapades and wondered that Regan was able to keep a handle on her! Her never-ending stories about her dear departed husband, Sir Gilbert, belied the fact that they were only married for two weeks. It was obvious though that she had adored him despite the suspicions that she had been nothing more than a gold digger.

The plot was pretty predictable but engaging. The array of diverse characters on the cruise ship were quite entertaining. Each one had a distinct personality and Carol did a good job developing them. The mystery as it progressed from the discovery of the body to the last minute confession that saved Veronica and Regan's lives was well thought out and flowed pretty well. Inspector Livingston was the one whom I would credit with most of the detective work but overall Regan makes a good heroine.

Carol's flaw in this book was in too much overwriting. She seems to be trying too hard, making the book sound like she had kept a thesaurus on her knee the whole time making sure she didn't use the same term more than once per chapter. A few times she reaches so far that a sentence sounds silly or even confusing. I hope that she will loosen up in subsequent books and allow the flow to become more natural.

Overall, this was a good book and I wouldn't hesitate to read it if you get the chance. We intend to try more of her work and see if they improved with experience.

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