The book that started it all for Edgar Award winner Sharyn McCrumb's widely acclaimed series featuring amateur sleuth Elizabeth MacPherson. When delicate Eileen Chandler is set to marry, her family fears the man is a fortune hunter. Thank goodness, Eileen's cousin Elizabeth MacPherson comes early for support. Unfortunately, Elizabeth also has some detecting to do, as a dead body is found, and none of the wedding party is above suspicion....
The author, Sharyn McCrumb, manages to infuse a lot of humor into this mystery. Everyone knows how painful it can be when roped into participating in a relative's wedding. The main character, Elizabeth, didn't know just how painful it was going to be! It was fun reading the witty repartee between Elizabeth and her cousins. However, I did feel that the majority of the characters were just caricatures of personality types. There was little depth shown in most of them, so they mostly seemed silly to me.
It was difficult to root for a protagonist that was wandering aimlessly in life, as Elizabeth was. With a fairly useless degree and no job in sight, she seemed more interested in trying to find a husband. Yes, this was added humor for the storyline, but didn't do much for the women's empowerment movement. This book was published in 1999, so that might have a lot to do with this character type, as the trend nowadays is to have a stronger, more forceful woman protagonist.
Overall, this book was a nice, light mystery, and enjoyable to read. I will be trying out some of the sequels to see how Elizabeth turns out!
I give this book 3 Bookworms.
Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 1999)