Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose
Author: Diana Killian
Berkley, 2008
276 pages

When I was researching cozy mysteries to read, I came across this series involving a yoga studio. Now that's different, I thought, so I put it on my list. Corpse Pose is the first book in the Mantra for Murder series, which so far includes two books (the other being the cleverly titled Dial Om For Murder.)

The protagonist is A.J. Alexander, a young woman whose life is out of balance in so many ways: her husband left her for another man; her mother's a bit on the zany side, and A.J. no longer feels passionately about her career the way she used to -- or her life, for that matter. She needs a change, and she gets it when her aunt is murdered. Turns out, "Aunt Di" was a multi-millionaire owner of a New Jersey-based yoga studio and healthy living business, and it just so happens that A.J. is set to inherit the bulk of her aunt's estate. Or is she? Turns out, Aunt Di had a few enemies, and now at least one person is jealous of A.J.'s inheritance.

Of course, A.J. and her mother (a former actress who once played a detective on British television) set out to learn what really happened to Aunt Di. Along the way, they become acquainted with local police detective named Jake, and meet some local people, such as the mysterious neighbor Stella; Lily, Aunt Di's angry business partner; and a young man who's training for the Olympics, but seems to have something to hide. It seems as if everyone is a suspect, including A.J. herself.

The strengths of this book include the growth (and potential growth) of A.J.'s character, the sense of humor, and the not-so-obvious "bad guy." It's just too bad Aunt Di had to die, because I think she'd be a wonderful regular character. There were several loose ends that could be tied up in future books. For example, who is Stella, what was her relationship with Di, and why is A.J.'s mom so snarky towards her? OK, so she's a little flaky, but she really doesn't seem to deserve that treatment. And speaking of A.J.'s mom, she is quite annoying at times, particularly when she overuses British terms and slang. Yet you can't help but like her. Imagine that!

Anyway . . . I do like the yoga theme, and I'd definitely read more of this series.

On another note, I realize that some of you think I've gone to cozy mystery hell lately, so perhaps I need to explain again that I'm doing research because I plan to write my own cozy mystery someday. That said, my next book will NOT be a cozy, so if you're burned out on the cozy thing, come back in a few days for something different.