Christmas Carol Murder – Leslie Meier

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Well, we sure didn’t like this one!  Luckily, there was homemade ginger snaps and fudge to make this drivel more palatable.  The group found the book to be farfetched, annoying agitating, ho-hum, political with the issues laid out in black and white with no shades of gray, an easy read, perfect holiday fare, and just barely worth the $1.99 on Kindle.
With the hope of it turning into a fun take on “A Christmas Carol,” we plugged on, waiting for the fun to start, but it NEVER DID.
Yes, the mortgage guys were two cranky old bastards, but the whole mortgage crisis was portrayed in such a black and white way, and the way people were losing their homes and/or had sick kids, we felt terribly manipulated.  We don’t like being manipulated.
Joan wanted to know why people were so down on just the mortgage guy who voted to lay off people, and not the other two guys who also voted the same way.  The mortgage guy may have been the most grumpy of the bunch, but they voted like the he did, yet didn’t suffer the wrath of the town.
Lucy Stone was declared to be an annoying busybody and we wanted to know why something similar to Sparks’s Big Nickel contained feature articles.
Favorite Characters – The group ranged from not liking any of the characters and wanting to know if there was a dog they could pin their hopes on (there were two — the police dog Boomer and Lucy’s dog Libby), to naming a series of fairly inconsequential characters.  Sadly, the main character didn’t make the cut, though her daughter Sara did.  The girl had gumption and was contrary to the rest of the goody-two-shoes community.  The students who were squatting. Elsie was declared to be an entertainingly awful bitch.  We also liked the husband, the restoration carpenter, Virginia, the ex-husband, and Scribner for redeeming himself at the end.
Least Favorite Characters – Sara, Seth was a conflict-stirrer, Lucy was annoying as well an invader of her husband’s privacy, Jake, Elsie, Rachel the whiner/worrier.
We even had someone rate the book 1/2 star!

Murder in the Latin Quarter – Cara Black

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On the whole, the group liked this book, as evidenced by the number of stars given to it.  But someone (Joan!) didn’t finish it and someone else thought it was just “eh.”  Some found the scope broad and confusing, and thought that it bounced around a lot. While the map was helpful, it could have provided more detail and the overabundance of French words just created a lot of work for readers.

That being said, the group enjoyed the book and not all of them threw it against the wall (Joan!).

Favorite characters – Generally, there weren’t too many to choose from, but in the end, Aimée Leduc, even though she was called lawless criminal liar, Mademoiselle Léonie, and René Friant.

Least favorite characters – Jérôme Castaing, Dr. Severat, Professeur Benoît because of the way he stirred things up, and the illegal Haitians.