Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cozy Mystery: Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot

Today we are featuring a Great Escapes blog tour, for the cozy mystery
Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot
by Elaine Faber

Publisher: Elk Grove Publications, 2016. 258 pages. 
Source: I was given a copy of the ebook in exchange for my review as part of this blog tour.
Publisher's Summary:
Since the onset of WWII, Agnes Agatha Odboddy, hometown patriot and self-appointed scourge of the underworld, suspects conspiracies around every corner…stolen ration books, German spies running amuck, and a possible Japanese invasion off the California coast. This seventy-year-old, model citizen would set the world aright if she could get Chief Waddlemucker to pay attention to the town’s nefarious deeds on any given Meatless Monday.

Mrs. Odboddy vows to bring the villains, both foreign and domestic, to justice, all while keeping chickens in her bathroom, working at the Ration Stamp Office, and knitting argyles for the boys on the front lines.

Imagine the chaos when Agnes’s long-lost WWI lover returns, hoping to find a million dollars in missing Hawaiian money and rekindle their ancient romance. In the thrilling conclusion, Agnes’s predictions become all too real when Mrs. Roosevelt unexpectedly comes to town to attend a funeral and Agnes must prove that she is, indeed, a warrior on the home front.

My Review:
Since I only sign up for tours for books that I expect to like, I went into this with high hopes. Those hopes met with mixed results. I will state that by the end I was fully engaged and enjoyed the story, for the most part. That said, it was not an unalloyed pleasure. 
It took me quite a long time to get engaged with the book, for reasons that aren't necessarily entirely the book's fault (my own busy life sometimes sidetracks a good book). I think the opening is flawed, as the opening incident and character are never referred to again, but it does plunge us right into the time and place, and gives a good view of Mrs. Odboddy's character. In fact, her character was part of my problem--her tendency to self-dramatization was, for me, a bit off-putting. I think I was hoping for someone a bit more like Mrs. Pollifax! But in the end, Mrs. Odboddy is vindicated, for both the town and the reader, and I was pleased that she got the chance to be a hero in reality, not just in her own mind.

For the most part, the historical setting is well-researched and well rendered, and the writing is strong. I had no trouble following the story or keeping the characters straight. The mystery is not terribly difficult to solve, and I was frustrated that Mrs. Odboddy gives up on her own suspicions just at the point where, to me, they are obviously correct. Despite that, I became much more engaged after the mid-point, and read on quickly to see how certain relationships would work out, and what she would get to do in the end.

Read this for a strong setting, off-the-wall characters, and humor of the pratfall/bumbling sleuth variety.

Author Elaine Faber has kindly agreed to come by and talk about writing.
Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers and Cat Writers Association. She lives in No. Calif with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).

Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. Two more Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.

Elaine Faber – Guest Post: How to Write a Best Seller

Reviewing the Plot
A great novel jumps off page one with a hook that keep the reader turning pages. Is it about a hard-boiled detective, bringing the killer to justice, or a romance with the boy next door? A good plot sucks you in and takes you willingly along an adventure. During the journey, you laugh or cry, are scared or surprised, along with the hero. At the end, you wish the story wouldn’t end and you look for the sequel so you can spend more time with these characters that have become friends.

Creating Conflict
A good story must have conflict or it isn’t a story. The girl next story must have a rival for her boyfriend. The CIA agent must have a villain to pursue. The puppy is lost. All these examples create conflict; something that prevents the main character from easily fulfilling his goal. If the CIA agent catches the villain on page one, where is the adventure? If the girl’s boyfriend doesn’t flirt around and break up with her, where is the romance? If the puppy isn’t lost, he’s just a puppy.

Supporting Characters
Besides the intriguing main characters, a good story has interesting supporting characters. They are the friends, relatives, or even the protagonist’s pets. They provide the main character someone to interact with. Often they lead to the conflict or help bring about the solution.

A good book has an exciting beginning, a middle that holds your attention, and a satisfying end. The beginning jumps out with an event that convinces the reader to travel this journey with the main character. A mystery to solve, a romantic conflict or a specific goal must be revealed within the first few pages to keep the reader’s interest.

The middle is the crux of the story, where the character struggles to overcome the obstacles, but events go from bad to worse, and when all seems lost, we come to the end. The reader leaves laundry in the dryer and dishes in the sink to see what happens next.

The ending must tie up all the loose strings, solve all the puzzles and reach a conclusion that is acceptable to the reader. Did you ever read a 300 page novel and the main character dies on the last page? You want to heave the book against the wall!

And the Satisfying Conclusion
In a satisfying conclusion, the hero gets the girl, the killer is revealed, the interplanetary six-headed monster is vanquished, or the puppy finds a new home. A satisfying ending leaves the reader wanting to spend more time with the characters. The author’s challenge is to create stories that satisfy the reader and keep him wanting to buy the sequel.

The Right Editor
Now, the nuts and bolts. To be successful, the author needs a good editor to go through a manuscript to look for spelling errors, poor punctuation, poorly written sentences or scenes that don’t make sense. She inspires the author to help the reader reach a deeper connection with the hero, suggesting corrections in a constructive manner. Her suggestions move the manuscript from a story to a journey, where the reader becomes one with the protagonist.

The Book Cover
At last the book moves through publication and to the store. A potential buyer sees the snappy, good looking, brightly colored cover with an easily read title and intriguing picture, suggesting the story line. The appealing cover tempts the potential buyer to turn over the book to read the plot summary with a hook, and it compels him to buy the book. Mission accomplished.

That’s all there is to writing a best seller. Easy-peasy, right?

Thanks Elaine, for coming by and sharing about the writing process! Easy-peasy, indeed!

Here's all the other info:
Purchase Links
Don't take my word for it! Check out what other Tour Participants have to say!
June 9 – Back Porchervations
June 9 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
June 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews
June 10 – Babs Book Bistro
June 11 – Brooke Blogs
June 12 –  Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
June 12 – Shelley’s Book Case
June 13 – Books Direct
June 13 – Queen of All She Reads
June 14 – I Read What You Write
June 14 – The Ninja Librarian
June 15 – Island Confidential
June 15 – T’s Stuff
June 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower
June 16 – LibriAmoriMiei
June 17 – Community Bookstop
June 17 – Laura’s Interests
June 17 – Melina’s Book Blog 


FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot as a participant in this blog tour, and received nothing further from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  



  1. Thanks, Rebecca, for your honest review. Mrs. Odboddy has many fans, but some readers are put off by her eccentric and dramatic personality. I hope you'll get to read books 2 and 3, and perhaps like her a little better. Thanks for allowing me to share my book with your readers.

    1. I admit that if asked early in the book if I wanted Book 2, I might have said no. But by the end...yeah, I think I'd like to see how she manages herself!

  2. Can anyone replace Mrs. Pollifax. I have wanted to live her life for a long time, not for real but in my daydreams.

    1. Nope. There never will be anyone like Mrs. Pollifax. I like to fantasize about discovering unpublished Mrs. Pollifax novels :D

  3. I've always been afraid of that beginning. This is very helpful.

    1. Beginnings are hard. I find it works to just plunge in, write it however, and go back later and make it right. Of course, despite all my efforts to plan and outline and get it right(er) the first time, I always end up plunging ahead and having to fix it later!


We want to hear from you! Tell us your reactions, or whatever's on your mind.