I am delighted to share my review of Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney, a cozy mystery with a professor for a sleuth!
About Broken Heart Attack
When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.
When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.
But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?
My thoughts on Broken Heart Attack
I have dived straight into the second book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries without reading the first. While it soon became clear I would have benefited from reading the earlier mystery, I was quickly brought up to speed and settled into the story without any difficulty.
Broken Heart Attack has all the elements of a good cozy mystery, including an amateur sleuth who sets out to solve a suspicious death, in this case Gwendolyn Paddington, a family friend dying while watching a dress rehearsal of King Lear. The narrator, professor Kellan Ayrwick, is a satisfyingly flawed protagonist with a full portion of problems, both personal and professional, on his plate. In true cozy style, the reader is drawn into an intimate world filled with loveable, and well-rounded characters. Even chair of the department, Miriam Castle, the “venomous barracuda”, is sympathetically cast.
As Kellan bends to his grandmother Nana D’s wishes and investigates Gwendolyn’s death, he struggles to deal with the complex matter of his own nuclear family. Cudney has given his sleuth a challenging and heartbreaking dilemma. Cudney’s handling of this theme is sensitive and considered.
There is nothing not to love about Broken Heart Attack. Cudney’s writing style is warm, vibrant, edgy and upbeat, the humour leaping off the page in the opening paragraphs. The first person narration is strong, the use of a modern vernacular style appropriate. Broken Heart Attack is a racy read, the reader kept entertained as the plot unfolds, eager to discover the culprit. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader hungry for Book 3. It is a device that does not always work, but in this case it does.