The Misadventures of the Laundry Hag: Skeletons in the Closet by Jennifer L. Hart
Three out of five stars
This book is an element of two generally distinct genres, the murder mystery and the comedy based on the inept, flustered female. Maggie Phillips is the wife of an ex Navy SEAL and the mother of two energetic boys. She is also a master house cleaner, although she is not very good at the other aspects of life.
The story opens with Maggie trying to get ready for a fancy neighborhood get together and having all kinds of problems in reaching what she considers an acceptable state. They are going to an actual soirée at the house of some new neighbors and she wants to make a good impression. While there, her friend Sylvia “volunteers” her to clean the new neighbor’s house.
Wanting the work and unable to say no, Maggie ends up cleaning the house and when she goes back unannounced she discovers some sexual activity outside the marriage. When the wife ends up being murdered, Maggie provides the husband’s alibi and this gets her involved in a series of deaths, where she somehow always manages to have some involvement. Many of the events in her adventure are of the “mis” type, as Maggie seems consistently inept, doing foolish things.
There is a climax at the end where the murderer is unmasked, but it contains very little tension. Most of the jokes are weak, the best is the one where Maggie goes grocery shopping with a wheelbarrow. There is also a set of austere in-laws that look down on Maggie and a brother that is a bum, although a little on the lovable side. Finally, Maggie hires a couple of cleaning sidekicks and while they are supposed to be comical, they really are not.
It is very difficult to combine humor and murder and that task is not done very well in this book. At no time did I find myself engrossed in the action.