3 out of 5 stars
I would like to thank Crooked Lane Books for gifting me with a free electronic ARC of this book via Netgalley. As I enjoyed the first book in this series, and follow Ms Chance on social media, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read the next instalment. Any and all reviews I now give I do so openly, honestly and obligation free.
Okay, so I actually finished reading this book many, many months ago and so I do apologise if I have forgotten half the things I had wanted to say. It has been a tough year for me, and therefore a busy year away from being a reviewer. But I have just discovered the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t actually a train at the end of said tunnel… so I can get back into my reviewing. Yay!
So… Bad Neighbours by Maia Chance is book two in ‘An Agnes and Effie Mystery’, and I have to say I totally adored book one – ‘Bad Housekeeping’. The pace was fast, the characters relatable and likable, the plot and sleuthing great. I am pretty sure I raved over it as I enjoyed it so much and saw a lot of potential in this series.
Book two, ‘Bad Neighbours’? Hmmm, I still really liked it, but…! And that but was: it seemed to have lost some of the spark of the first book. I actually found Agnes a little too whiney at times than as enjoyably self-demeaning as she was in the first book. Maybe trying to get that love interest angst and intrigue going in the book as well as the mystery just didn’t gel well with me and it took that shine away?
I am not saying it wasn’t an enjoyable book, it was great! But I did find it a little more cluttered and convoluted than the first. Too much was trying to be done and not enough mad-cap action got to take place because of it. It was almost as if Effie and Agnes, upon the success of their first adventure, tried to be slightly more professional in their second one. And by taking it all more seriously, they lost that quirky edge I loved so much in the first book. Who knows? I mean, this is just MY opinion, and I am known to be wrong. AND it was a few months ago since I read it so can you REALLY trust me on this? 😉
However, I really must emphasise it was a good read. It just wasn’t the great read the first book was. Perhaps I did it to myself? Perhaps I was miss-remembering how good the first book was? I don’t know. But I do know ‘Bad Neighbours’ was an okay read, where ‘Bad Housekeeping’ was a great read… for me at least.
Remember that mantra people – “Pffffft! What would SHE know?!”
Would I recommend this book to others?
Yes I would, as it was an enjoyable cosy crime/ mystery book and if it was the first one in the series I had read I would still say all the positives about it. It. Was. Good. Don’t diss the book on my account. But, having read it as book two in a series where book one was (to me) a LOT better… Heck, that just makes me want to recommend people buy and read BOTH ‘Bad Neighbours’ AND ‘Bad Housekeeping’ and then read them in order and tell me if I am wrong. Please, I am happy to admit it if people can prove it. 😀
Would I buy this book for myself?
Yes I would. And I would because I loved the first book in the series so much. Would I regret having bought it when I found it not as good? Nope, not at all. These things happen. And, I mean, I haven’t been having a great year and that can really influence your mood when reading and so the fault is totally with me. Would this book stop me from buying the next book (if there is one) in ‘An Agnes and Effie Mystery’? Nope, I look forward to the next book and hope it comes out soon. The characters in this book remind me of ones written by other favourite authors – Sharyn McCrumb and Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels). So to be reminded of their work shows a LOT of talent in Ms Chance, and just draws me all the more this series. If that makes sense? So – yes to recommending and yes to buying!
In summary: An enjoyable book in its own right, it just lacked something as part of the series (to me).
Until next time,