Friday, December 10, 2021

Book Review: Bottoms Up (A Top Shelf Mystery) (Top Shelf Mysteries Book 5) by Lolli Powell

Meet Ricki Fontaine, Purveyor of (Humorous) Wisdom

If you haven’t read any of the Top Shelf Mysteries, then you should meet the heroine, Ricki Fontaine. I never fail to learn something new from her. In Bottoms Up, she introduced me to the last part of an old saying: “‘everyone to his own taste,’ the old woman said when she kissed her cow”. She gave me insight on how to dole out the truth: “Mark and I had been in the park looking for drug dealers. It was a half- truth…. I wasn’t going to tell them the other half— that we’d found the drug dealers because they’d agreed to meet with us.” And she gave me advice on watching out for my friends: “I sat there for a minute or two longer while I polished off the banana chocolate chip muffin. July didn’t need three muffins, after all. He was an old man and should be careful about carbs.”

Besides the droll humor that author Lolli Powell weaves into every book, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the mysteries are top-notch. This one, like each of the previous books in the series, kept me guessing to the last page. And with all the twists in the finale, make sure you don’t stop until you see “The End” because it might not be. Additionally, the continuing story of Ricki’s love life provides another source of entertainment. This time, Ricki’s mom is trying to meddle in it, until her new love interest turns the tables with a little charm. “He raised my mother’s hand to his lips and kissed the back of it. For a second, I thought she was going to pass out.”

As for areas for improvement, there aren’t many. The story shifts between investigating a suspicious death and romance smoothly and with a steady rhythm. The characters are well-developed, a bit quirky, and quite entertaining. About the only thing I noticed was a slight tendency to repetition: “I was in no mood for his games. “’Oh, you two are hilarious!’ I said. ‘But I’m not in the mood for your childishness’”. But for the laughs I get from every one of these books, I can hear Ricki’s not in the mood for games/childishness twice.

So, if you haven’t yet, it’s time you meet Ricki Fontaine.

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