When I read the title and the description of Amy Metz’s ‘Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction’ I knew I had to read it. And I’m sure if I’d gone by a place with a name such as Goose Pimple Junction I would have felt compelled to visit it. And the place and the book were worth the visit.
There are novels where you might enjoy the story and the plot (it might be a clever or complicated one, one that makes you think, takes you to fascinating places you’ve never been or teaches you new things), but maybe you don’t connect with any of the characters. There are books where you feel as if you knew the characters and they could be your best friends, but the story is neither here nor there (you just hope to visit them again when something more interesting is happening), there are books that are wonderful flights of fancy you might follow or not… There are books that seem to have a bit of all in the right amount, and you can’t think of anything else that could make them any better. And there are the books that seem to fit in perfectly with the type of reading you need right at that moment.
‘Murder & Mayhem’ was the type of book that fitted perfectly with what I wanted and needed at the time. Life was a bit too serious for me, and the novel gave me a good laugh. I kept looking forward to Pickles’s T-shirts, to the trips to the dinner to try and guess what the orders would sound like, and to the fantastic conversations, and pratfalls. It has mystery and an interesting story that kept my thoughts engaged (and took me away from some not so nice topics), but not so complicated that it made it impossible not to lose track. It also expands through several generations and follows the families and events that have made the place and the people what it is. It has a gentle love story where the protagonists are writers of a certain age and with backstories, but both the salt of the earth (what woman would not love Jack, and Tess is also irresistible), it has unforgettable 4th of July celebrations, strange family liaisons, food, dogs…Author Amy Metz manages to juggle all the balls and doesn't let them drop. She keeps the pace of the story, turning from past to present, mixing local flavour with mystery and shady dealings, and creates realistic characters that keep surprising you by refusing to be caricatures or one-phrase jokes. The novel is a good old-fashioned mystery, a great romance, a fun book (without nastiness or bile) and it will leave you with a smile on your face.