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Here Comes the Bride: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery    by Mary Daheim order for
Here Comes the Bride
by Mary Daheim
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Bob Walch

If you are a fan of the long running Bed and Breakfast suspense series by Mary Daheim, it is probably because you have grown attached to the protagonist, innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn, and her irrepressible sidekick, her cousin Renie.

Because the cast of characters and their spirited dialogue dominate the novels, plotting has never been one of the strengths of these stories. That's not to say they haven't held the reader's attention but the words clever or complex usually aren't used in describing the hold the story lines exert on their audience.

Unfortunately, this latest adventure of Hillside Manor's proprietor is really so weak that even the most diehard Daheim fan will probably have to admit this was one of the most disappointing ones to date.

When a wedding party of very eccentric and unpleasant individuals descends on the bed and breakfast, Judith knows she's in for a difficult weekend. It gets even worse when the bride's mother is found dead in the backyard the morning of the planned wedding.

This unfortunate occurrence, coupled with the bizarre behavior of the dead woman's husband (who insists that Judith is his long lost mother), sets off a chain of events that causes stress in Judith's household and, naturally, forces her to once again play amateur sleuth.

Although the usual cast of characters (Judith's husband, mother, friends and neighbors) provides some fun and often humorous moments, the crux of the mystery is so nebulous that it's unclear there has even really been a crime committed here.

Without going into detail I have to admit that when all is said and done, the conclusion of this caper is so unsatisfying that one has to wonder if the author herself knew how she was going to wrap this one up.

Frankly, there were warnings along the way that this was not a well conceived storyline but I forced myself to keep reading because I was curious to see how Daheim would extricate herself and characters from this tottering house of cards. Sadly, she wasn't able to pull it off and the whole structure collapsed, making me wonder if perhaps if it is not time to part company with the Bed and Breakfast crew.

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