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Dead Pan by Gayle Trent

This is my first review of an ebook, received in PDF format as part of the LibraryThing early reviewers scheme.

Dead Pan by Gayle Trent

22 December, 2009 by Wulf Forrester-Barker
Book Review

Rating: 2 / 5

Book cover

Dead Pan is the second in a series of mystery novels that attempt to put baking and murder in the oven and produce something delectable. For those who like their reading to be quite light, airy and with plenty of sweetness, this might prove to be irresistible but I have to confess that it was not to my taste.

The only thing I found particularly notable about the writing was the tendency to use plenty of contemporary references. This is the first book I have read where the heroine (and one of her friends) spend time playing rock guitar video games! I did not find any particular richness in the descriptions, resonance in the characters or language that was startlingly brilliant, amusing or both though. Perhaps I was just struggling with the concept of a cake decorator, Daphne Martin, who seems to find herself at the centre of yet another twisted skein of deceit and death? That said, I recognise that the idea of medical examiners and forensic anthropologists playing front line detective is also rather far-fetched so I had better be wary of attempting to dismiss Dead Pan on grounds of realism, since I have been drawn to novels with those other unlikely settings.

It reminded me of the gentle investigations pursued by two older ladies in Simon Brett’s novels, with a touch of the whimsy that pervades the work of Jasper Fforde. If you like that style of mystery, then Dead Pan is probably one to put the kettle on for. My palate simply prefers things a little more savoury.


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