Title: Murder Packs a Suitcase
Author: Cynthia Baxter
Publisher: Bantam 
Length: 304 pages
Mallory Marlowe is newly widowed when she goes for a job interview at a Travel magazine. She wins the job and is immediately sent to Florida to discover if it has any of its old charm remaining after ‘Disneyfication’. When one of her fellow journalists on the press trip is murdered Mallory, who had a verbal altercation with the victim earlier that day, is considered a suspect. So, in between visiting some of the kitschier tourist attractions in Florida, Mallory tries to uncover who else might have had a motive for killing the unpleasant man.
As an amateur sleuth Mallory falls on the more believable end of the scale in terms of how she gets involved in the investigation and the methods she uses to solve the crime. However she’s a wee bit earnest and worthy for my tastes. I’m sure that seeing her discover she can cope on her own as a new widow is inspirational for some but I found that aspect of the book dull. The parts of the story that dealt with travelling through modern Florida looking for attractions that hadn’t been Disney-fied were more entertaining for me. I also enjoyed some of the characters accompanying Mallory on her trip such as the woman who wrote for a budget travel magazine who was constantly on the lookout for a cheap deal. Having backpacked my way around a good part of the world I could empathise with the penny pinching.
This is the first book in what I assume the author is looking to turn into a series and there is certainly much potential for brand new storylines with Mallory being a travel writer. If the series does continue on its present course I’m sure it will find many fans looking for a well written story featuring a heroine they can relate to and a hint of romance. For my tastes I’d like to see Mallory travelling beyond the US and also for the series to be a little more humorous but that’s just my personal tastes and I suspect others will be very happy just the way things are.
My rating 2.5/5
Murder Packs a Suitcase is reviewed at A Book Blogger’s Diary
Am I the only person who reads books based on their physical size? I packed this book for a trip away solely because it was tiny and fitted in the bag I indented to carry round with me while away. As someone who does quite a lot of reading away from home the physical size of books is a constant issue for me.