Christy Castleman finds herself questioning everything she knows about her family in Peggy Darty’s newest novel When Bobbie Sang the Blues. When Christy’s aunt, Bobbie, moves into town and is suspected of the murder of her ex-husband Eddie, Christy is challenged with the difficult task of proving her innocence. Learning of Bobbie’s dysfunctional past, however, doesn’t help Christy’s case and also places her in a confused emotional whirlwind. How well does she really know her family? Emotionally drained, Christy seeks refuge and support from those who are closest to her, including her parents, brother, and ex-boyfriend. With the support of these loved ones, Christy is determined to solve the mystery and prove that her aunt could not be guilty of this vicious crime.
Despite some unrealistic dialogue, Peggy Darty’s ability to develop each character, both emotionally and spiritually, gives the reader a complete understanding of the situation at hand. The past of the main characters brings to the story a new perspective and continually leaves the reader questioning who can be trusted. For instance, Bobbie admits an alcoholic addiction. Another character, Wiley Smith, informs Christy that he previously had a confrontation with Eddie that cost him his job. He confesses that he, too, was happy that someone “did him in.” There are many other characters who have some type of hatred toward Eddie for previous encounters or present conflicts. This, in turn, presents many possible murderers. Yet, the police decide that Bobbie still remains the primary suspect due to hidden evidence. Christy begins her own investigations in spite of the police, starting with Wiley and Jack, Bobbie’s new boyfriend and one of Christy’s closest friends.
Although the development of each character’s personality remains strong, the plot lacks scope and a strong drive. It starts off slow and doesn’t gain much momentum until Roseann Cole, Eddie’s girlfriend, returns to Summer Breeze, Florida to confront Christy. The ending reveals the answers to this haunting mystery in a few, short chapters, leaving the reader questioning if the author could have spent more time on the final events rather than the beginning.
Christy’s strength and determination to uphold her family’s reputation become one of the greatest examples of love that any Christian family could strive to attain. Hardened hearts are softened as these trying times call for forgiveness from all parties. Christy’s compassion for her family and surrounding community is unquestioned and flawlessly displayed. Without a doubt, any reader can become emotionally attached to a character such as Christy.
Overall, When Bobbie Sang the Blues is a book that would be most enjoyable to young women who are looking for an example of someone who can remain strong and prove that even small town nobodies can make a difference when they put their mind to it. For those who love a quick beginning and drawn out end, then this novel would be best left on the shelf. However, those who like mysteries with a subplot of growing love, this book is for you. – Katlyn Smith, Christian Book Previews.com
When mystery writer Christy Castleman’s Aunt Bobbie storms into town, she brings a burst of wild wind to quiet Summer Breeze, Florida–and new life to the junk she scavenges for her trash-to-treasure shop, I Saw It First.
Bobbie enjoys restoring beauty to flawed items, and her free-spirited approach to life attracts a range of Summer Breezers, including members of the local Red Hat chapter, crusty widower Jack, and Christy’s roguish brother, Seth. Bobbie’s battered red truck becomes a familiar sight around the coastal hamlet–loaded down with such odd items as a huge old pickle barrel–and her electric presence lights up the Blues Club in the evenings.
But the fun and games turn deadly when Eddie Bodine, Bobbie’s ex-husband, is found dead in her pickle barrel. As compelling evidence mounts against Bobbie, can Christy and the Red Hatters expose the real killer before lively Aunt Bobbie is locked away for good?