Title: A Glimmer of Death
Author: Valerie Wilson Wesley
Published on: 26th Jan 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
A Glimmer of Death is the first in a new (cozy) mystery series featuring a caterer-turned-realtor with the gift of second sight. Meet Odessa Jones, our protagonist. She works at Risko Realtors as a real estate agent. Her boss Charlie Risko is not happy with her – she hasn’t made a sale yet and if this continues. he might have to fire her. Odessa, or Dessa as she’s fondly known as, is a widower. After the death of her husband, she couldn’t get back to their catering business. She took up the real estate job instead.
Dessa was born with a gift – she sees ‘glimmers’ around people – good, bad and everything else has a glimmer. One morning, she gets a strong whiff of Nutmeg at her workplace. Nutmeg means only one thing – Death. The smell is stronger in her boss’ cabin. The same evening, Charlie is killed with his own gun. One of Dessa’s coworker is arrested for the crime but he pleads innocence. He asks Dessa to help him out.
Dessa’s other colleagues are rude to her. They have their share of secrets too – most of them related to their dead boss. Dessa is warned by her Aunt Phoenix (who also has a gift of sight) that people are what they seem to be.
I am really not sure if this book falls under the sub-genre of mystery, namely Cozy Mystery, as there were no tones of ‘Cozy’ in it. Having said that, the themes of this story are gift of sight and catering(mostly baking), hence the dilemma of which sub-genre to choose. Also, the book is published by Kensington Books – their specialty being Cozy Mysteries.
Dessa’s colleagues are not likable. I am not sure if this is how they were meant to be portrayed – rude, arrogant and swirling in their own egos. Meanwhile, Dessa does not trust her gift. Though it has helped her in the past, there were no indications or clues when her husband dropped dead a year ago.
When her colleague is arrested – he was sweet on Dessa – she learns a lot about her colleagues. They were all involved with the dead man (boss) in the past – romantically or not; they hated him.
Coming to the mystery behind the death(s), the suspense was well-maintained throughout the story but as the identity of the perp was revealed, I didn’t feel like this was something surprising or shocking. Being the protagonist, one would have expected Dessa to do some amateur sleuthing -plus points being her ‘gift’ – but sadly, she hardly does any sleuthing. I would have liked the story better if Dessa made use of her sight to solve the crime. Maybe even Aunt Phoenix could have helped the niece in gathering clues.
A Glimmer of Death is a debut in the series so I wouldn’t want to comment much on the character development. This book had a lot of potential. The combination of baking/catering and ‘the glimmer’ would have made this a fantastic story. There is scope for improvement, though. I certainly hope Dessa learns to trust her instincts and use the glimmer to solve crimes in her future adventures.
I received an ARC from Kensington Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.