RogerBW's Blog

The Recycled Citizen, Charlotte MacLeod 20 October 2018

1988 cozy American detective fiction; seventh of MacLeod's novels of Boston Brahmin Sarah Kelling and art investigator Max Bittersohn. Sarah is pregnant, but doesn't let that slow her down much; one of the rubbish-collectors working for the Senior Citizens' Recycling Center, a family charitable project, has been fatally mugged, and it seems that there's more going on.

It's rather more cozy than detective, as recent MacLeod has tended to be: there are plenty of comical family Characters, many of them from earlier books, but they mostly go along in their established tracks rather than revealing anything new about themselves (something Nora Roberts has managed to pull off rather better in the …In Death series). At least both Sarah and Max have significant time on the page, and a fair bit of it even together, which is always where they've been most fun.

There's very little mystery since the good and bad people are clearly labelled (and with all the recurring family members there's not much room for new expendable characters anyway), but the process of working out what is going on rather than merely who must be responsible comes together well; some side tracks go on for rather longer than perhaps they should.

I think that if I were more kindly disposed towards the series I'd have enjoyed it more; it sometimes felt like MacLeod laughing at her own jokes. Definitely don't start here, since while there are basic introductions you won't have a feel for who people are or why they behave the way they do unless you've read the previous books. Followed by The Silver Ghost.

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Previous in series: The Plain Old Man | Series: Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn | Next in series: The Silver Ghost

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