Death by Hitchcock
written by Elissa D. Grodin
published by Cozy Cat Press, 2014
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Where I stopped reading: page 45 of 207
Why I stopped reading: Reader abandoned the novel due to lack of developing story and failure by the author to seriously create any interest in the characters within the first 45 pages. With respect to the author, the first stages of the book come across as rudimentary and uninteresting, appealing to no one outside perhaps a very narrowly defined segment. Think Murder She Wrote for cat-loving teetotalers, or perhaps a real life Dolores Umbridge . . . as the target reader. The juvenile character treatment and naming conventions (i.e., “Chaz Winner,” “Mary Buttery,” “Honeysuckle Blessington,” “Nedda Cake,” “Bunny Baldwin”) distracted the reader to the point of dangerous eye rolling. The book comes across as a slightly more mature version of Nancy Drew (although a spattering of teenage vulnerability and cleverness might have woken this novel up a little). Faced with the prospect of plowing through another 150 pages of shallow plot and yarn-woven characters, the reader cried uncle and tagged as DNF.
What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for Death by Hitchcock is 3.62 stars. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book 5 stars. 62% of the reviews on Amazon were 5 stars. At Barnes & Noble, there was one 4-star review. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.
About the book – from Goodreads: Physics and film seemingly have few academic features in common. However, when local siren Bunny Baldwin, a student in the Film Studies Department at Cushing College, is found strangled to death on opening night of the Hitchcock Film Festival, Physics professor Edwina Goodwin puts on her detecting hat. Using her scientific sleuthing skills to assist her almost boyfriend Police Detective Will Tenney, the pair work together to investigate the campus murder. Edwina wants to know–why did the murderer tie a strip of film around the victim’s head? Why did the killer time the murder to coincide with the showing of the famous Hitchcock film Spellbound? Was Bunny really killed by strangulation or did the unusual drugs found in her system suggest poisoning? Why do all the suspects have a seemingly airtight alibi? There are certainly sufficient suspects as Edwina quickly ascertains. The head of the Film Studies Department was having a torrid and practically public affair with the victim. His wife was apparently furiuous, but not enough to keep her from also engaging in sexual hanky panky. The victim had stolen a screenplay written by her roommate, Mary, to secure a Hollywood agent. Mary is out for payback. A quirky older woman who uses plants and other natural remedies to cure various ailments followed the head of the department around like a moon-struck calf. And, of course, there’s the film department’s boy savant who plays chess with Edwina and keeps her updated on the various players. Can Edwina use her knowledge of physics to unlock the strange features of this most unusual crime? When a second murder occurs, it looks like she may–if the killer doesn’t find her first.