The Old Lady Detective Agency
By Ryan Herrin
I present senior citizens Pam Breck and her friend Betty. Pam thinks everyone is up to nefarious deeds. When a local flea market is robbed, Pam and Betty are on the case. That is if Pam can keep from thinking about a mysterious pony-tailed man she swears is a criminal, and if she can stop thinking Betty might be the mastermind behind the robbery. Betty would rather watch junk television, buy an accordion, and figure out the brown stain on a tissue in her purse.
Okay, I like it and it kind of, sort of, almost works.
Pam Breck: multiple divorces, has a son, long silver hair, wears glasses, has a younger sister, drives a Buick Skylark
Betty: has a shot glass and porcelain figurine collection, has a dog, has children, curly dyed hair, multiple divorces
Ernie: flea market manager
Jared Massey: music dealer
Estelle: security guard
Albert: wears glasses, Pam’s son, 350 lbs.
Michael Wilson: owns a Pontiac
A lot of good characters. Some don’t have last names. If Betty’s was mentioned, I didn’t catch it. Pam’s didn’t show up until long into the book. Not too much description of characters so I wasn’t sure about Betty. I liked her and she was a good tag-along for Pam the go-getter.
For the most part everyone had a distinctive voice. Conversations tended to be short.
Too many semicolons at the beginning and they were misused.
Some tense problems here and there.
Although I enjoyed the story I thought that it was a bit over the top. I felt that the author tried to hard to always add comedy. Comedy is tough in stories. There were a lot of repetitions that didn’t seem to go anywhere and some of the expository thoughts detracted from the main story. I thought there should have been more emphasis on the actual case, more clues, more witnesses. As mentioned, I liked Betty but she was pretty scatter-brained which, again, detracted from the main story. Maybe less extra stuff. The gang of women Betty and Pam hang with were mentioned and I thought they might have played a larger role.
Generally, some tighter writing was needed.
The action and tension were low. Maybe Pam and Betty needed to be in more danger.
Also, in regards to the actual mystery, I don’t think the case was ‘solved’ by anyone. Betty received her spotlight moment but I didn’t make the connection between Pam’s investigation and the solution. Pam’s Nero Wolfe or Ellery Queen’s gather-the-suspects-in-one-place-and-explain-everything faltered a bit.
If this is to be a series, it has potential, if a bit of reworking.