Book 9 of 2015: Man Trap by Arlene Kay

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Eja and Demming are taking this mystery out for a spin!
Munitions heir Dario Peters has a yen for competitive cycling and cash. When he suffers a fatal crash on a Cape Cod bike path, everyone calls it a tragic accident. But his doting grandma knows better.
Persus Cantor begs amateur sleuths Eja Kane and Deming Swann—her nephew—to come to Bayview and investigate the case. The newly engaged duo finds that Dario was a ne’er-do-well with a host of enemies in the upscale Cape Cod village. A scheming psychic, an enraged environmentalist, and a greedy realtor all wanted him dead, not to mention his tempestuous wife, Paloma.
Through it all, Eja and Deming continue their sizzling romance. Only a brainy bestselling author like Eja can match a man like Deming, whose movie star looks, smarts, and sophistication are enough to dazzle even the bad guys.

I recieved this First Reads Goodreads Giveaway book for an honest review.

Man Trap is the second book to a series of mysteries that are very close to the Parlour mystery format (one of my favorite formats for mysteries). In case you don’t understand what I mean by Parlour mystery, it’s a subdivision to mysteries. There is the Noir Mystery which usually has a private investigator and even the client is shady. Think Humphrey Bogart (amazing actor). The Police Procedural, which is basically a police procedural with an authority figure as the hero. Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, etc. are Police Procedural authors. And then, there is the Parlour Mystery. The main character is oftentimes a normal bloke, perhaps an author (like Eja Kane in Man Trap). The main character can also be a police officer or private detective in some cases. A lot of Victorian mysteries are Parlour Mysteries. It’s a mystery that isn’t reliant on forensics, but on the human condition. I LOVE Parlour mysteries.

So, Man Trap is what I consider a Parlour Mystery. You have all of the main players in one central area with the main characters getting their noses stuck in things they honestly shouldn’t be doing. There is a lot of hints within the dialogue that can get the reader wondering just what really happened.

The one and only thing that bothered me will have to be the names. All of them are pretty exotic. Now, I have an exotic name, but I don’t know nearly as many people with those kind of names in this book alone. That said, rich people do name their children very interesting names (North West, ’nuff said) and the characters in this book are rich with all capital letters. They are the old rich, the blue bloods, the Daisy to Gastby’s world. Yeah, they are that kind of rich.

So, for the fact of rich people naming children strange things, I was able to push aside that little issue and read through. The mystery isn’t very big, but the journey to the conclusion didn’t bore me. I liked Eja. She reminds me of Castle without his geeky stride. She gets her nose into things and says things without thinking. She’s also self conscious about the rich world, being the only one without the check balance equivalent the theirs.

Her fiance’ and longtime friend, Deming Swann is an alpha male. He’s posessive of her and overly protective. Yes, Eja is clumsy, but I don’t think she’s nearly as clumsy as Deming seems to think. Deming is the law to her justice. He’s a lawyer and can get the items that Eja can’t without breaking any laws. In all, they would make a great crime fighting duo if Deming wasn’t so adamant about letting the police handle the murders. Then again, you always need that sidekick who complains, but still does the job.

Truthfully, Man Trap was a fun way to see murder through the eyes of the opulent. I was entertained and I wasn’t confused with the characters despite it being a sequel. Would I read more of Arlene Kay? Perhaps. I don’t think I want to read the world of the rich so much, but Eja was an interesting enough woman to want to revisit later on.

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