Jane Jeffry, one of Jill Churchillís series characters, wrote a mystery novel. When a mystery convention comes to town in Bell, Book and Scandal, she jumps at the opportunity to learn about writing and publishing. Even more conveniently, her best friendís husband has free access to a luxury suite in the hotel housing the conference. The mild poisoning of a cranky editor and the bang on the head of a disliked critic cause more conversation than consternation.
Everything in this story happens conveniently. Jane is always at the right place at the right time. She asks questions, she listens. She doesnít always remember, but there are 224 pages to fill. She eats out. She shops with her friend. She attends seminars and observes behavior. The danger never seems sinister, merely a slight annoyance. There is no sense of urgency or of lives at stake. The mystery isnít so much solved as self-revealed due to Jane being there to observe it. Although refreshing not to plow through pages of gore and a high body count, itís all mild and...convenient.
On the positive side, Jane is a pleasant person with whom to spend a few hours. She is a nice lady. She means well. She hasnít grown much over the course of the series, but sheís someone with whom the reader can feel safe.
The details of the mystery convention are well-rendered; the information given within the seminars is given succinctly and accurately. The flow of personalities at such an event is sharply observed -- anyone who has attended a mystery writersí conference can enjoy the anecdotes. Anyone who considers attending will get a hearty taste of the experience. Unfortunately, Bell, Book and Scandal never rises above a pleasant, relaxing read, cozier than cozy.