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    A Ditie BrownMystery

    Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot by Sarah Osborne is the first A Ditie Brown Mystery. Mabel “Ditie” Brown is a pediatrician who works and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is surprised when Ellie Winston, who she has not seen in two years, show up at her house. Ellie only shows up when she is in trouble and this time is no exception. She asks if Ditie can watch her two children for a few days while she handles a matter. Ditie picks up the kids from a rundown apartment that evening and Ellie is not in residence (she left them alone). After 12 a.m. Mabel gets a call from Detective Mason Garrett. Ellie was found murdered in midtown with a note that Ditie is take care of her kids if something happens to her. What had Ellie been up to this time? The killer believes the kids or Ditie have something they want, and they will do whatever it takes to get it. They only way to protect the children is to track down the guilty party. Ditie and the kids are in for a harrowing time in Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot is not your traditional cozy mystery. The main character, Mabel “Ditie” Brown is a pediatrician who works at a refugee clinic. Some of her patient stories are shared in the book (sad situations). Then we have Ellie Winston who frequently leaves her two kids (under nine) alone at home and has questionable ways of raising money. Ellie is then murdered and Ditie is left with two children to raise. It is distressing that Lucie Winston (age 9) has been responsible for caring for her brother, Jason (age 5). The tales from the children are just heartbreaking. The mystery has some good components and there is action that helps move the story forward. I do wish it had been harder to solve. The responsible party can easily be singled out (if you have not solved this one by the time you are halfway through the book, you need to turn in your deerstalker cap). The small-town charm and some light-hearted humor (a little levity) is missing from Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot. The background on Ditie was lacking as well. The writing lacked an ease to it and the pace was slow (the book seemed long when it was only 244 pages). There is romance (of course) between Ditie and Detective Garrett. Detective Garrett should have focused more on his job instead of Ditie and fewer errors would have been made. There are cozy moments with cooking, eating, baking, and the kids. I felt that the author missed the mark with Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot. My rating is 3 out of 5 for Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot.
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    A Series to Watch

    I am always on the lookout for a new mystery or series. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot by Sarah Osbourne is a fast-moving, intriguing mystery that has some very likable characters, a few to dislike, and a few from which to run. Ditie(short for Aphrodite), Lurlene, and Jason and Lucie are arguably some of the most likable. Ditie is a pediatrician who finds herself suddenly in charge of her friend’s children. Jason and Lucie are adorable, childlike and adult-like by turns, making one’s heart ache and eyes overflow. Lurlene pretends to be French in a cute way and also helps with childcare. Mason and Dan give the ladies in the book some romance. My complaint would be that Mason never really romances Ditie, he just acts “settled” that she is for him. The author does a great job of providing plenty of twists and turns in this mystery until my head was reeling with suspect possibilities. I found it hard to figure out who was really behind the murders. One thing I didn’t care for was a spate of bad language thrown in towards the middle. Maybe to keep the book from getting a PG rating? I would personally prefer the PG rating. One of the tenets of a cozy used to be “no bad language.” The recipes at the back were quite reasonable, even for someone who considers herself a non-cook. Yum! I will be checking out the next book, to see how the series progresses. If you like children, police business, and cozies, you may want to check it out this series, also.
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