This had SUCH potential!  The concept of including crossword puzzles and a Sudoku puzzle as part of the way to solve the crime was inspired.  Until they became annoying and confusing.  As for revealing clues, we totally didn’t get it.  And we totally lost interest.  There was a lot of skimming by the group, some of us missed later murders, and some of us didn’t finish the book.

While we liked the mystery itself, with its ties to a really old crime, we found there to be too many red herrings, the legal process was completely disregarded in both the murder cases and the probate, and police and legal procedure as depicted was laughable.  And if Mobile, Alabama hasn’t cleaned its drains in 50 years, Joan is a monkey’s uncle.  A completely unbelievable bunch of nothing.

We didn’t like the main character, Cora, which is never a good sign.  She was declared to be an annoying busybody with delusions of hotness.  She was described as being a cross between Jessica Fletcher and Groucho Marx and some of us completely agreed.  She was not believable and not competent at anything she did, though she did seem to have a weirdly wired brain that allowed her to see the stranger byways of crime.

Favorite characters – Cora, who was declared to be spunky.  There were those who liked how she was brave and got to climb in windows, etc.  Cora’s dog, the poor thing.  The coroner, who at least retained some control over his world by locking the door and not answering the phone.  Chief Harper, who had is own bumbling way of going about things.  The niece’s new husband, who took a chance at happiness and married into the crazy family.

Least favorite characters — The author.  Dennis Pride.  Cora.  The heirs, real and otherwise.  Chief Harper, the pantywaist who allowed Cora to run roughshod over him, his department, the victims, the suspects, and pretty much anyone who lived in town.  The killer — an opportunistic despicable person wrapped up in his own self-interest with no scruples.

(And I rounded up!)