Title: Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection (books 1-3)
Author: Barbara Venkataraman
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Anjana recommended me this series a couple of weeks ago. I finally decided to read it this week. And guess what, I had just borrowed the book from KU when I saw a mail from Barbara, asking if I wanted to review her books. Quite a coincidence, isn’t it? 🙂
Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection consists of the first three books in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series. Jamie Quinn is a family lawyer. She’s grieving the death of her mother when her aunt Peg calls in to say that Jamie’s cousin (and Aunt Peg’s son) Adam is arrested for the murder of Spike, a music school owner. Adam is autistic and there’s no way he could have killed the music teacher he adored. But the defense lawyer (representing the state) Nick is being such a pain. Though Jamie is a family lawyer, she now has to interfere in a case that involves criminal law, even if it is just to save her dear cousin.
Adam’s story is the first book in Jamie Quinn series – Death by Didgeridoo. In the second book – The Case of the Killer Divorce, readers are introduced to Jamie’s client Becca Solomon. Becca is fighting a bitter divorce against her husband. He’s won the custody of their two daughters and Becca is heartbroken. Becca threatens to kill her husband if he doesn’t give her the custody of their children. The next day, Becca’s husband is found dead. Jamie is pretty sure that her client is innocent. And yet again, she involves herself in a criminal case.
In the third book – Peril in the Park, Kip Simons, Jamie’s boyfriend is having issues at work. And to add to this woe, someone sends Jamie an email with pictures of her and Kip. The blackmailer threatens to take action if Kip doesn’t stop interfering in the matter of Parks Department. But Kip can’t help it, he’s been made the director. And to add to this mess, there’s a vandal who is creating havoc, or rather, an embarrassment to the Parks Department. Once again, Jamie finds herself involved in a criminal case.
I absolutely loved Jamie Quinn series. Why didn’t I read this before?!! Jamie is not your ordinary lawyer. She’s quirky – who wears two different shoes to a court meeting?? (one heeled and one flat!) she looks after her late mother’s cat – Mr. Paws. They both cannot stand each other (Jamie and Mr. Paws, that is) and they hiss at each other (Hiss!!!) And one fine day Mr. Paws, who has been renamed as Mr. Pain in the Ass by Jamie, turns out to be such a cutie pie! Huh! How did that happen???
The characters are absolutely marvellous. Jamie is quirky, funny and very much likeable. Then there is Grace, Jamie’s best friend since law school; the duo share a very strong bond of friendship. How can I not mention Duke the P.I extraordinaire!! The guy is sleazy – the dirty kinda P.I. who would dig under anything to help his client!! He was once Jamie’s client and he says he owes her. So when Jamie is asked by the public defender to find evidence that might help in proving Adam innocent, Jamie asks Duke to help her out. Soon after, Jamie once again finds herself asking Duke for help – this time to find her long-lost father as well as dig some dirt on her suspects (book 2 and 3).
Jamie meets Kip in The Case of the Killer Divorce. When Kip first met her, Jamie squealed. And I squealed too. Okay, Jamie and I both squealed in joy! Barbara’s writing has this effect on you. I felt like Jamie was sitting right next to me, telling me about her adventures. (The stories are as narrated by Jamie). Speaking of quirky characters, there’s Lisa – Jamie’s part-time secretary in The Case of the Killer Divorce. The girl cries about anything and everything. Good news, bad news, meh news anything. She cries if she’s happy and cries when sad(which is pretty obvious!!) Such a cry baby!!!
Just to give you a gist of the writing style and story, here’s an excerpt from the book:
Becca’s story was hardly unusual – she’d met a new guy and wanted out of her marriage. Her mistake was assuming it would be easy. Getting a divorce isn’t like changing banks or firing your pool boy, it’s a whole lot messier, especially when you have kids. And while new love is wonderful and romantic, it’s not real life. Eventually, someone has to pay bills, get up with the baby, and take out the trash. I don’t mean a person should never start over, I’m just saying ‘new’ doesn’t always mean ‘improved.’Everyone you meet has emotional baggage – even me. Honestly, if I had any more baggage, I could start my own airline.
With the help of Duke and Grace, Jamie manages to track down her biological father. In book three, we see that Jamie is sad because her father’s application for US citizen is being rejected. No spoilers here but Jamie does something in the end that makes her happy.
All three stories are entertaining and engrossing. Barbara is an excellent storyteller and Jamie Quinn series is a proof of it. I highly recommend you to give this series a try. So far, there are five books in the Jamie Quinn series. The first two are novellas – quick reads – so I hope you start with these first. In fact, I am addicted to this series!! Off I go now to start with book #4! Adios!
You can read Anjana’s review of this book here.