I’ve had this book on my shelf for awhile now, it was a gift from someone who knew I loved the show. I was saving it for a ‘special occasion’, meaning, when I knew I would need my spirits lifted, and reading something comforting like this would instantly make me feel better. So, I packed it in my hospital bag for my recent labour, because reading in a hospital is depressing, but I knew protagonist and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher would help me through it. I was not disappointed, this was another lovely read from Donald Bain who seems to capture the television show perfectly-it’s the next best thing to watching an episode of Murder She Wrote.
There are a ton of stories in this series, but I’ve only read a few so far as they are hard to come by in used book sales. I’m not 100% sure whether each book has a corresponding television episode either, so if anyone knows the answer to that, please let me know in the comments section below.
Close-up on Murder centers on the Hollywood production of one of Jessica’s books, and to lend to the authenticity of the script, the movie is being shot right in Cabot Cove, Jessica’s hometown. The book that the script is written from was actually based on a real-life trial that also took place in Cabot Cove, so the plot of the movie involves real citizens of the sleepy little town. This of course means that there are people who may be unhappy with the fact that movie is being shot at all, which gives us the beginnings of a suspect list when the starlet of the film, Vera Stockdale is found murdered. In addition to the afore-mentioned motive, Vera is a downright villain, terrible to work with and be around, so there is no shortage of people that would prefer her gone. Mort Metzger is first on the case, but as always he appreciates Jessica’s help to solve these crimes, so together they go about questioning people on set, and in the town.
Always a fine examples of cozy mysteries, these books by Donald Bain (and in an adorable tongue-in-cheek fashion, also listing Jessica Fletcher as a co-author) are a true joy to read. Rabid mystery lovers may end up hating these books because they are simple, with not many twists to surprise or upend the reader. But, I find these books so comforting to read, and I love how they further develop the character of Jessica Fletcher because we are subject to her inner thoughts, which we obviously aren’t in the television show. This book is no different; it brings us a little deeper in to the world of Cabot Cove, but it’s immediately recognizable and authentic to anyone who watches the show. My only complaint about these books are the clichés-there are tons of them, and I sometimes found myself rolling my eyes, but only for a short time, because I was too eager to get to the next page.
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I’ve only read one of these so far but agree they are the ultimate comfort read for fans of the show. I like seeing things from Jessica’s point of view – I love how he shows her thoughts aren’t always quite as sweet as her words usually are! Really must read some more sometime. In answer to your question as to whether they relate to episodes of the show, I have no idea. Hope that helps! 😉
That’s EXACTLY why I like these books. In the show, Jessica is so sweet and kind, but Bain depicts her interior dialogue as quite skeptical and sarcastic 🙂
I LOVE that you read these and that you review them. I’ve never read one but we have some here at the library and I promise one day I will try one and think of you!! Also, you read during labor?? Wow, you’re my hero!
haha ok I need to clarify, I didn’t read during labour, I read afterwards, when recovering. Mind you, I did read a bit during my first labour, but not for long! LOL
STILL… I was such a zombie after mine I couldn’t have read a menu much less a book! 🙂 It took me about five weeks post-partum to finish ONE book.
I could use some comfort reading and maybe comfort food too. 😉
there’s nothing better!
Such a great book for when you need something familiar especially as it captures the feeling of the series so well.
I know! I love that about them.
From what I gathered from my online intel, Anne, the books seem to be an ultimate fan fiction series based on the show and do not directly correspond to any of the episodes of the television series. More to love!
Oh good to know! Thank you for that research Cathy 🙂
Did you actually read during labour? I’m impressed! I brought 3 books with me when I had my first and didn’t read one word! The second time I brought Bellevue Square and read a little bit in the night after she was born. It wasn’t a great hospital read though, haha!
oh gosh Bellevue Square would be the worst hospital read haha
No didn’t read during labour, just afterwards while recovering 🙂
I’m not really familiar with Murder She Wrote, but my husband has mentioned it several times, so I’m assuming that he may be watched it on TV when he was growing up. So, did this start with a show or did it start with books, and are the books based on the show? I think that’s what you were asking? I’m really glad that this book was a comfort to you while you were in the hospital. Do you catch yourself reading it aloud to baby Arthur and your daughter? I don’t know her name (sorry)!
Daughter’s name is Ava! And no, I only read out loud to them when it’s their books, because the pictures are really what interests them right now.
Murder She Wrote started with the show, then the books came long afterwards (or maybe during?). MSW had a long run, like 12 seasons or something.
Your cat is gorgeous.
It’s good to hear people like the books so much. I’m a huge fan of the show (even started an episode trivia guide for it on my mystery-themed blog), but I’ve never read any of the books — although I keep seeing them whenever I visit the library. Given your review, and some of the comments here, I’m gonna give them a shot!
you won’t be disappointed! they are so wonderful.