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Toured to Death: 08/03/21
Toured to Death (originally 'Rally Round the Corpse) by Hy Conrad is the first of the Amy's Travel mystery trilogy. The blurb describes a mother and daughter team of travel agents who end up with a mystery on their hands. Reality, though, is very different from this compact and cozy sounding description.
The mystery has three distinct and barely connected parts. There's a prolog where a murder game designer is killed. Then there's the mystery rally from Monte Carlo to Rome which ends at the literal halfway point. The rally also ends with another murder.
By the end of the rally I was already doubting that the book would be able to wrap things up in some sort of sensible fashion. Because so far there had been zero attempt at investigating the mystery, be it, Otto's death, the original murder that Otto's tour was inspired by, and finally the murder of one of the tour guests.
My feeling of dread was confirmed by a single page with these two words: PART TWO. Who the actual fuck decided to repackage this book as a cozy? No cozy would have need for a PART TWO. If anything, this novel is a thriller or maybe a very weird horror.
After the disconcerting PART TWO, the novel opens up on Long Island. Some amount of time has passed and Amy hasn't decided what to do about the disastrous end to the mystery tour. That is until she suddenly decides she should. Maybe she knows that PART TWO has started?
There's a whole bunch of nonsense in the second half that takes place in New York and New Jersey. It's an attempt to shoehorn together the cold case, Otto's murder, and the one that happened in Rome. For reasons I can't fathom, the person I had decided was most likely to be a murderer (before the third murder) ends up stalking Amy and confronting her. If the murderer had just left Amy alone and gone back to their life they would have gotten away with not one but two murders!