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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Book review - A Good Day to Buy

The fourth in the cosy mystery series by Sherry Harris, A Good Day to Buy is a welcome change from the gritty, raw goings on related by my earlier read, The Treatment.

This is a first-person narrative, sometimes self-deprecating, told by Sarah Winston who is arranging a garage sale. Sadly, before it can begin she discovers her clients lying on the garage floor; Mr Spencer is dead and his wife is unconscious. Sarah’s estranged brother Luke shows up out of the blue and is immediately considered a suspect. Her ex-husband Chief of Police CJ is angling after them getting together again, which seems ripe since he cheated on her in the first book, apparently.

There’s light humour and no gore. Sarah is a likeable plucky woman and a bit of a busy-body. She may be the ex-wife of the Chief of Police, but she does seem to take liberties in the various investigations. There are a number of red herrings, which you expect in this kind of book. Sarah is certainly familiar with the trappings of smart phones and computers, even if her interest leans towards antiques! The subsidiary characters are well drawn; the deputy sheriff is nicknamed Awesome (don't ask). I felt some of the incidents were contrived, and the predicaments Sarah found herself in were not quite believable. And the explanation for the death of Mr Spencer was a bit of a let-down.

An easy read, an escape into small town America.
Editorial comment
The paperback I read was an advance uncorrected proof. Even so, most of the errors I spotted shouldn’t have been there. I’ll ignore them, apart from mentioning that the author persisted in writing ‘I’ instead of ‘me’:
            ‘Awesome looked over at Stella and I…’ (p49)
            ‘… why the heck they found James and I so interesting.’ (p162)
            ‘… when he saw Herb and I sitting together.’ (p165)
            ‘… where they’d stashed Luke and I…’ (p289)
            ‘I pictured CJ and I working side by side…’ (p302)

It isn’t rocket science. If you can remove the other subject from the sentence, does it make sense? The usual answer is ‘no’ –
            ‘Awesome looked over at I…’
            ‘… why the heck they found I so interesting.’
            ‘… when he saw I sitting ...’
            ‘… where they’d stashed I…’
            ‘I pictured I working side by side…’

Replace ‘I’ with ‘me’ and they work just fine.

Screenwriters and TV script writers also tend to get this wrong.

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