Rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first in Carter's series about Hillary Scarborough, a Martha Stewart-type tv hostess, and Jane Ferguson, an almost-lawyer who is hired to be Hillary's assistant when together, on Jane's interview, they discover the body of a dead woman. Unfortunately, the dead woman was Hillary's rival in the tv ratings, so both she and Jane come under suspicion for the murder.
I like cosy mysteries, and this one has good possibilities for a series; however, more development needs to go into the characters and the plotting of the mystery itself if the series is to draw in more readers. The whodunit in this book was weak, and the investigative process consisted more of Hillary driving like a maniac and Jane being scared of her own shadow than it did collecting actual proof of anything or against anyone.
There was humor, though, and all the main characters were very likable. It would be fun to see where Carter takes her people in future episodes. There wasn't enough development of the characters, though, to sustain the story in spite of the weak plot mystery. Somewhat reluctant sleuths are a staple of the cosy mystery genre, but in this case not enough inquisitiveness was written into Jane's character to justify her becoming more and more involved in the developing investigation. And having her 10 year old daughter figuring out aspects of the case before they occur to Jane didn't help the credibility of Jane's character much either.
However, that's not to say this wasn't completely a lost cause. When I finished Leading An Elegant Death I wanted more, and that's always a good sign.
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