Sweet and Deadly

By Charlaine Harris

Place: Publisher & Year: USA: Severn House, 2010 (c1981)

Genres: Mystery, suspense

ISBN: 9780727869487

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 262

Setting: Lowfield, Mississippi

Time period: early 1980s

Plot summary: Catherine Linton moved back to the small town where she was raised after her parents died under suspicious circumstances.  When Catherine finds the body of a woman who worked with her father in an abandoned shack, she knows that it must somehow be connected to the death of her parents.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Fairly quick pace

Characterization: The story is told in third person from Catherine’s perspective.  The most important secondary character is Catherine’s employer, Randall Gerrard.

Frame: This book was originally published with the title Dead Dog, which provides the frame.  The dead dog is the first thing the character notices and provides a reference point throughout the story.

Story line: A suspenseful murder mystery set in a small Southern town.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Parents — Death — Fiction.

Murder — Investigation — Mississippi — Fiction.

Traffic accident victims — Fiction.

Mississippi — Social conditions — Fiction.

Suspense fiction.

Similar works:

Cat of the Century by Rita Mae Brown

The Black Cat by Martha Grimes

Still Life by Louise Penny

Personal notes: Silly me – I picked up this book from the “New Items” shelf from the library thinking that it was a new book by Harris.  It’s actually her first published book – just re-released in hardback.  I didn’t really clue into this until the main character started smoking cigarettes.  It struck me as a bit odd, so I started looking for the copyright date at that point.  I did enjoy this book, but not nearly as much as I enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series.  The writing style is much grittier and there is much less character development than in Harris’s later books.  It was also pretty easy for me to figure out who committed the crime, I just didn’t figure out the motive.

Other: Diversity – female reporter, Black Americans

Charlaine Harris’s website

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