Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Review: Pane of Death by Sarah Atwell

Pane of Death
by Sarah Atwell
Berkley Publishing Group
Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-425-22501-1

On the cover of Pane of Death it says, ‘A Glassblowing Mystery”. That’s because this is one of those light mysteries in which the setting and main character are connected with glass blowing. A lot of these cozy style mysteries are this way, featuring knitting, cooking, scrapbooking, etc. It makes for a different kind of setting than the hard-boiled stories. As with the others of its kind, Pane of Death gives you some history into glassblowing both throughout the story and in a short essay at the back. Ms. Atwell also includes two recipes.

The story takes place in Tucson Arizona. Emmaline is a glass artisan who get a rare chance to team up with her local rival to work on a nearly priceless stained glass collection. It’s a dream job until the patron turns up dead and Em is blamed for it. With the collection also missing, everyone in town teams up to figure out who actually killed the man and took the art. The clock is ticking because if the missing pieces aren’t found soon, they’ll disappear forever.

Of course I won’t spoil the end for you. It is slow in a couple of places and I’m still not quite sure how the dogs fit in to the story. The first person narrative does showcase the quirky personality of Emmaline as she snoops her way in and out of trouble. If you like your mysteries with down to Earth characters and not much bloodshed, this is the book for you.