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Retro Reading: Stay Tuned for Murder by Mary Kennedy

Updated on May 13, 2022
Arbitron places Maggie's talk show with the swine report both vying for last place
Arbitron places Maggie's talk show with the swine report both vying for last place

Third Installment Curse

After reading the second installment of the Talk Show Mysteries, I thought the third installment would have kept up with the pace of the second. It didn't and I have to say I was doing a lot of flip flopping over this book.

Stay Tuned For Murder by Mary Kennedy is somewhat confusing. There are times when you can't put the book down and then there are times in which your mind tends to wander and mine seemed to wander quite a bit. Not even a second murder helped.

When self proclaimed oracle Madame Chantel arrives in town she's a ratings booster for radio talk show host, Maggie Walsh, a psychiatrist who left her practice in Manhattan to do something else with her life. After packing up she headed to Cypress Grove, FL and became a talk show host dealing with everyone's problems. Maggie loves her new job but ratings are low (she's tied for last place with the swine report) and now that Chantel's arrived Maggie's listeners can't get enough of her.

Chantel talks to the dead and has decided that she's going to spend some time in Cypress Grove writing her next book. She really doesn't spend too much time writing as she's constantly at the WYME studio. While Maggie doesn't quite get Chantel's act, she's invited to a séance at the town's historical society one night and brings along her mother, Lola, and roommate Lark.

During the séance, Chantel's spiritual advisor, Michael, channels grim news to those assembled. Soon Maggie's on the hunt for a killer after one of the town's beloved citizens is found murdered. That's not the only problem she has. A second murder is also committed.

Maggie's glorifying moments are whenever she has to make some type of contact with Det. Rafe Martino, who she likes and vice versa but Kennedy hasn't put them on an actual date.

Throughout the first half of the book it's mostly about Chantel and the mystery which surrounds her then there's a shift regarding a time capsule which is about to be unearthed. The courthouse where it's buried is going to be demolished and a high rise condo complex will be built on the site. Even though the time capsule wasn't supposed to be opened for another 50 years or so, the city's decided it would be fun to open it now. Plus there are a few town secrets in there which no one knows about.

Even though Chantel and the time capsule are kind of woven into each other Kennedy basically cluttered the novel with too many characters and some were mentioned once then disappeared. During my mind wandering I kept asking myself who such and such character was and when were they introduced. Characters like Lark and Lola are pretty major and they're hardly mentioned throughout the story so with the addition of new characters halfway through the book you can get a little confused (well at least I did).

I generally call this the third book curse. Usually the first installment is trying to find itself, the second is usually the one I enjoy the most and then the third kind of stagnates. You know the author's trying to set up the next installment but where they're going with it can be confusing.

If both stories were separate entities on their own I think they would have done much better but as it stands now I didn't feel satisfied and was left with a big question mark when I finished the last word.


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