cover image I Only Read Murder: A Miranda Abbott Mystery

I Only Read Murder: A Miranda Abbott Mystery

Ian and Will Ferguson. Mira, $18.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7783-6963-9

This uneven series launch from brothers Ian and Will Ferguson (How to Be Canadian) introduces Miranda Abbott, a self-absorbed actor whose star has faded in middle age. Fifteen years earlier, Miranda headlined a top-rated TV series as crime-solving cleric Pastor Fran; these days, she’s struggling to land an appearance on the reality show The Real Has-Beens of Beverly Hills. After her long-suffering agent drops her when she refuses to play a grandmother in a fiber supplement commercial, Miranda receives a postcard with a cryptic message from Edgar, the husband she left many years ago to pursue her acting career. She interprets the note as a summons to join him in the sleepy town of Happy Rock, Ore., though when she arrives, she realizes Edgar wrote to request a divorce, not a rekindling. Making the best of things, Miranda decides to stay in Happy Rock and try out for the local community theater company’s upcoming show. Then one of the cast members dies, and Miranda, certain that she was the intended victim, steps in to help solve the case. Miranda, while occasionally funny, grows grating over the course of a full novel, and the Fergusons take too long to set the mystery in motion. This series has potential, but the opening entry misses the mark. (Feb.)