After being roped into being a bridesmaid for a woman she barely knows, Josie Tucker is surprised to hear that the bride has died while on her honeymoon. Since her life in a bit of a shambles, she decides to look into the death.
The Bride Wore Dead introduces us to one of the more unusual amateur sleuths I can recall.
Josie is a columnist, but as a food critic rather than an investigative journalist. She is also having stomach problems which in addition to making her miserable also puts her job in doubt. It also makes her say the things that others might think but otherwise keep to themselves.
Josie is a bit abrasive initially but the author’s descriptions of her thought processes meant I didn’t hold it against her and was amused more than annoyed by her. There were some exceptions but these were situations were Josie realized she’d overstepped and was contrite.
For me, it was a slow start getting into this book. But once the titular bride was dead and the setting moves to Arizona, I pretty much devoured the rest of the book in a matter of two days. The denouement isn’t a big reveal or a dramatic showdown (which actually occurs a little beforehand). Instead I can’t help feeling that the low-key resolution was in a way more realistic.
The descriptions of relationships are particularly strong, the self doubt that can trap people in their circumstances, the love of family and the desire to do right by those no longer with us. Also well done is the depiction of a life in a small town which I expect is much the same whether it’s a small town in Arizona or a small town in Scotland. Everyone knows everyone; some things are common, if unspoken, knowledge and the community looks out for those they perceive as their own.