Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman
Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the recent death of her mother, is a family court lawyer battling insomnia and grief. One morning, her aunt leaves a frantic message; her young cousin Adam, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, has been arrested for murder after finding his music teacher, Spike, murdered with a didgeridoo. Although not a criminal lawyer, Jamie’s family ties run deep and she dives in to save her fragile cousin from being jailed for a murder he didn’t commit.
Death by Didgeridoo is novella length; at only 111 pages, it’s difficult to sketch out a character completely, but I thought there was real depth to the characters. I’m an insomniac, so it was easy to relate to Jamie’s frustration at not being able to sleep, and it was all too easy to empathize with the loss of her mother. I like that she is self-aware enough to be able to make jokes about her grief and lack of sleep, but she deals with it with humor without becoming negative. The character of Adam, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, was handled realistically and sensitively, and Duke, the kinda-shady overly-flirty PI made a good sidekick for Jamie.
The plot moved along quickly for such a short book, without sacrificing quality. I really liked when the public defender recommended hiring a private investigator, I thought it was a natural way to get the main character involved in the investigation.
I’d have to say the only issue I had with the book is a pretty common gripe I have about mysteries; the victim is never in the book. Although I understand that in a novella length book, it would be difficult to shoehorn in a few scenes showing what a miserable a-hole the victim was, but without having “met” him, I didn’t connect with his murder. Actually, now that I think about it, both victims were only mentioned in the book, but were not really a part of it. A minor issue, and as I said, very common but it would be nice to get a feel for the victims to give their murders more of an impact.
Overall a great start to a new series, and recommended for any cozy mystery lover.
The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (She somehow knew I was a big fan of didgeridoos. It was fate)
The Jamie Quinn series is available in paperback, Kindle and on Audible. Order your copy on Amazon!