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Arsenic and Ole*

Problem of First in Series Plagues Second

I have read books from several different series by this author, and I find myself somewhat amazed that I don’t have a single opinion about her as a writer. When I read a lot of books by one author, I tend to develop an impression that covers all the books I’ve read. With Ms. Archer, it changes for each series I read, it would seem. For instance, I absolutely adore the hand lettering series. This is now the second book I have read of this Coastal Playhouse series, and it isn’t sitting well with me. This book suffers from the same problem that the first one did. Namely, the book has far too many chunks of straight-out backstory about a variety of characters and circumstances littered throughout the first half of the book. I just do not like information dumps. With her skill, the author could definitely have spread this information around more evenly throughout and only when needed; I don’t think all the background itself was necessary. I do like the world she has created in this quirky little community. I like Tig (even if I still can’t stand her name) and her relationships with those around her, especially with her daughter and her former high school boyfriend (now local law enforcement). All in all, I would say that this series is not the author’s best work, but if you don’t mind data dumps, it is actually a very serviceable and enjoyable cozy mystery.