Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FRANKLY MY DEAR, I’M DEAD by Livia J. Washburn

Publisher: Kensington
Date published: October 2, 2009
ISBN: 978-0758225672
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by Library

In the aftermath of her divorce, Delilah Dickinson embarks on a new path in life – as the owner of a travel agency. Not just any travel agency though. The venture is a literary travel agency. Her plan is to organize tours to various locales made famous by fiction. First stop is a marvelous Gone With The Wind tour complete with a ball at Tara. Well not exactly Tara, but a perfect replica of Scarlett O’Hara’s famous home complete with those well-known characters, Rhett Butler, Ashley Wilkes, Melanie Wilkes and Scarlett herself.

The tour begins with a visit to the Gone With The Wind museum and a tea before the tour group is escorted out to Tara where they are met by Scarlett’s father. Well not really his father, but an actor playing him as well as an assortment of other actors playing the long time favorite characters. The tour participants aren’t on the grounds very long before someone is murdered. Despite her attempts to stay out of it, Delilah is responsible for her customers and on top of that, she can’t resist a good mystery. The problem is the murderer now has Delilah in his sights.

I first came across author Livia J. Washburn when one of her Fresh Baked mysteries found their way to me the same day I spotted her KILLER ON A HOT TIME ROOF at the library. I took that as a sign that she was an author I needed to read. I’m so glad I listened to the sign!

I’m a huge Gone With The Wind fan and the idea of a tour that includes a visit to Tara, albeit a fictional one, is high on my list. Ms. Washburn’s Delilah Dickinson (literary tours) series is a refreshing idea – and what avid reader wouldn’t be interested in a book-based series? Initially I was a little overwhelmed with the introduction of the cast of characters at Tara—Steven Kelley who is Rhett, etc. I felt their real lives and the characters they were portraying could have been done a bit more cleanly. You needed a bit of a score card to remember who was who and then the double naming (i.e., Steven who was Rhett) became a bit overdone.

That said, FRANKLY MY DEAR, I’M DEAD introduces not only a fun idea for a series, but a wonderful leading character. Delilah is a mature woman with a great sense of humor. She’s hurting from her divorce, but that doesn’t stop her from a healthy attraction to a nice guy. I found myself rooting for her with two or three of the male characters because I liked the character so much. More than once I found myself wishing Delilah’s literary tours were the real deal and not only a part of Ms. Washburn’s marvelous imagination.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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