Monday, January 4, 2010

The Mournful Teddy

Title: A Mournful Teddy

Author: John J. Lamb

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Copyright Date: 2006

Print Date: August 2006

ISBN: 0425211126

Pages: 289 + Teddy Bear Artisan Profile

Series: 1st of the Bear Collector's Mysteries

Book Description (from back cover):

Retired San Francisco cop Brad Lyon is settling into a quieter life with his wife, Ashleigh, in Virginia's mountain country, where they collect and create teddy bears. But even here, stuff happens...

The Sound and the Furry

The day is here — and Brad Lyon is helping his wife put the finishing touches on her best bears, just in time for the Shenandoah Valley Teddy Bear Extravaganza. The event will draw fur-ball fanatics from near and far to buy, sell, or simply ogle the bears. But the main event will be the showing of the Mourning Bear, made to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic — and worth a hefty $150,000.

Then a local also meets a watery grave — and Brad Lyon spots the body floating in the Shenandoah. Old habits die hard, so Brad starts investigating like a homicide cop and finds that the deceased might have had a connection to the Mourning Bear. But the local law would prefer that Brad keep his mouth sewn shut...


Despite the slow start (twice...over a year apart), I enjoyed this book. I've already read the 2nd book as well, and will probably be reading the 3rd soon.

Overall, I think Brad is a good and likeable character. With that in mind, Brad does "say" a couple things that just got on my nerves a bit. I think I may have gotten too sensitive, but there's no accounting for mood.

Anyway, at one point he says (in his narration, p94),
As an added bonus, the expression "Houston, we have a problem" would never have made it into popular language, to be used by a generation of dullards who know more about the Olsen twins than they do about the amazing program that put human beings on the moon.
Seeing as I'm what, 2 yrs older than the Olsen twins, I'm thinking I'm part of that "generation of dullards." Now, to be perfectly honest while I couldn't care less about the Olsen twins, I also don't really care about Apollo 13 or "the amazing program that put human beings on the moon." But does Mr. John J. Lamb think that the "dullard" generation doesn't read? Or doesn't he care? Or does he think it's just part of the charcacter Brad Lyon and that makes it acceptable?

Another bit that irritated me was the reference (there's at least one, but I think I remember two) to females liking "bodice-ripping romances." Uh, get with the times. This book was published in 2006; I would hope such references (and terminology) would reflect that.

So by the time I got through those references, I was in no mood to read, "Okay, I know what you're thinking." (p208) He most certainly did not know what I was thinking, as the following statement demonstrated. Now I KNOW that's being too sensitive, but I was in a picky frame of mind by then.

(I want to point out that I'm aware a person can't please everybody. And that it's difficult if not impossible to not say anything that someone finds offensive. However, that awareness didn't stop me from feeling irritated.)

If you push past the slow start and ignore certain references — this is a fun beginning to an interesting series.

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