Book Review: Bloody Royal Prints by Reba White Williams

Bloody Royal PrintsBloody Royal Prints
A Coleman and Dinah Greene Mystery #4
Reba White Williams
Tyrus Books, July 2015
ISBN 978-1-4405-8548-7
Hardcover

Bloody Royal Prints, the fourth book in the Coleman & Dinah series, has an interesting set up. Dinah Heywood has received a prestigious fellowship with the Art Museum of Great Britain and she and her husband, Jonathan, are off to England. Unfortunately, the book isn’t actually about that at all. In fact, Dinah doesn’t even start the fellowship until more than halfway through the book and we hear precious little about it.

So what is the book about? The book starts with Dinah’s controlling husband in great detail. And sprinkled throughout are many descriptions and details of food. But most of the plot centers on an arts dealer Dinah meets and a few of her friends. In fact, much of the book is told about Rachel with Dinah nowhere in sight.

Each chapter is titled for its central character, including Dinah, Rachel, Coleman, Coleman and Dinah, Rachel and Julia, Dinah and Jonathan. The last one (on the final page) is Heyward, an American billionaire who appeared in earlier books and has a small part in this one.

There are a couple of murders in Rachel’s part of the book. (Presumably Dinah is off, troubled with the annoying servants and their failure to meet Jonathan’s needs.) First there is the murder of Stephanie’s friend. Stephanie is a friend of Julia and Julia is Rachel’s friend so it all ties back, sort of. I suspect these are the people the author really wanted to write about and just wrapped it up into a Coleman and Dinah book.

If that weren’t enough, the dialogue is stilted throughout and painful to read. People just don’t talk like that.
I had a hard time finding something to like in this novel. The premise seems to serve only as a device to move the characters to London but it was the reason I wanted to read the book in the first place. I thought that eventually Dinah would grow and realize she doesn’t need to cater to her husband’s controlling demands. But no, please don’t get your hopes up. Dinah’s subplot is all about the servants and what they’re really up to.

And don’t ask me about the attempted-rape scene and how it doesn’t even faze the woman enough to interrupt her date. I think this writer needs to get in touch with a little reality.

The book is flawed and it made for some difficult perseverance. Can’t recommend this one. Still, I liked that premise. I still do.

Reviewed by Constance Reader, August 2015.

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