"Books Fall Open, You Fall In"
2 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Dead Canaries Don’t Sing is the first book in the Reigning Cats & Dogs Mystery series by Cynthia Baxter. The story centers around Dr Jessica Popper, a veterinarian turned amateur sleuth, and her entourage of friends and animals.
I found this book to be just ok. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. The story was a bit long and at times boring. There was a lot of filler that didn’t need to be there which detracted from the story itself, but it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. A few, more pressing issues for me were with some of the characters. I found Jessica, the main character, to be somewhat dislikable. I say somewhat because there were times that I liked her and found her entertaining, mostly though she could be irritating, pushy, and childish. For starters, I couldn’t understand why she immersed herself into trying to solve a murder that she had absolutely no connection to. Not to mention that she does so in such a pushy manner that it’s a wonder she survived to the end of the book without getting herself killed. She also lies and uses her career as a way to interview some of the people who knew the victim, which for me, really put into question if she has any ethics. Then there is her relationship with her on-again, off-again boyfriend and private investigator, Nick. For reasons that I could never figure out, she has a major commitment phobia. She continually tells herself that she doesn’t want to lose her independence so she treats him like a walking case of herpes, only running back when she needs something from him. I kept wondering why he even had anything to do with her as it was obvious to me that she has some real issues that only a trip to a psychiatrist could cure.
The other character I had a problem with was her landlord, Betty. I know that they were supposed to be friends as well as landlord/tenant, but regardless I would not appreciate someone overstepping their bounds as Betty did. She came off as nosy and too involved in Jessica’s personal life. I’d probably move if I was her.
I’m not really going to tap on the murder itself because I’m still a little confused as to why she even bothered with it. She had no connection to the victim or anyone they knew. She wasn’t a suspect or knew anyone that was. It’s baffling to me that someone would spend that much time away from their own job just to nose around a murder investigation because they found it fascinating.
Aside from that though, it was an easy, light read that filled some time for me and I always love books that involve animals. There were plenty of those. I have the second installment and will read it, hoping that the author waters down Jessica’s insane relationship issues and makes her investigating tactics a bit more subtle. If not, the next book in this series may be my last.