by Barbara Venkataraman
A Book Review by Jackie Houchin
Okay, have you ever seen the word, Didgeridoo, before (did’ jer ee doo’ – just like it’s spelled, well almost)? If you haven’t, it’s a musical instrument. A very long, horn-like tube, slightly bent and flaring at the end, and sounding like a deep base kazoo. (You play it by sort of humming/blowing loudly into the small end.)
Are you confused now? You will be even more so when I tell you that didgeridoos are made and played by Aboriginal tribes in Australia. If you are like me, you expect this book to be a light mystery set in the continent “down under.”
But you (and I) would be wrong. DEATH BY DIDGERIDOO is set in Hollywood! And…it is not the one in California. It’s in Florida, somewhere between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Okay, now are you ready for the characters and plot? These are happily much more understandable.
Jamie Quinn is a young, single, family practice lawyer, still grieving the recent death of her mother. Her Aunt Peg is a single mom with a 22-year-old son, Adam, who is autistic with Asperger’s Syndrome. “Spike” is a mean man, continually stoned, and owner of the now defunct rock band called The Screaming Zombies. He also owns a music store by the same name, sells instruments, and teaches music classes. (Oh, by the way, none of his instruments is a didgeridoo.)
Last week, “Spike” was found murdered, bashed in the skull with a 4 1/2-foot didgeridoo. Adam, a student of his, is found near the body holding the bloody “weapon” and blurting out, “I did a bad thing! I did a bad thing!” The cops need nothing more.
That’s the set-up. What will our sweet, young, funny, grieving, never-even-looked-at-a-criminal-case lawyer do?
Oh, one other character is important, but I’ll leave that for you to discover. He isn’t actually a Duke of Hazzard, but he kind of fits the role. The interplay between him and our heroine is delightful! And Jamie has other friends who help her – a doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. (Well maybe not that last one!) Hey, what are friends for? Altogether, they make for a very enjoyable, funny, and interesting short read. (102 pages)
I highly recommend this book. It’s book #1 in a series of 6 short Jamie Quinn mysteries.