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The Odd Job

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When a museum administrator is stabbed to death with a hat pin, popular Boston detective Sarah Kelling must interrupt her seaside idyll to pursue the case.


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When a museum administrator is stabbed to death with a hat pin, popular Boston detective Sarah Kelling must interrupt her seaside idyll to pursue the case.

30 review for The Odd Job

  1. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Charlotte MacLeod had been a well-established cozy author in the '90s, when I got this Advance. It's sad to learn, now, that she only published two more books before falling victim to Alzheimer's and dying in 2005. Given that she published nearly 40 books and lived to the age of 83, though, I probably shouldn't feel too bad for her. I'm just not used to being introduced to an author's works so late in her career. The Odd Job is the penultimate of one of MacLeod's mystery series, this one starring Charlotte MacLeod had been a well-established cozy author in the '90s, when I got this Advance. It's sad to learn, now, that she only published two more books before falling victim to Alzheimer's and dying in 2005. Given that she published nearly 40 books and lived to the age of 83, though, I probably shouldn't feel too bad for her. I'm just not used to being introduced to an author's works so late in her career. The Odd Job is the penultimate of one of MacLeod's mystery series, this one starring Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. I didn't get to "meet" Bittersohn, though, since he's off in Argentina throughout the novel. Kelling, on the other hand, is a fascinating lady who I hope to read more about. Set in Boston and its suburbs, Odd follows Kelling as she tries to settle the estate of an acquaintance she knew through the Wilkins Museum. Kelling soon realizes that Dolores didn't die of natural causes, and that the well-meaning woman may have gotten involved in matters going far deeper than she'd known. Despite walking into an already well-developed series, I never felt lost -- either in the plot or about Kelling's life. Odd was well written and well paced, truly a joy to read. I hadn't expected much when I picked the book up -- a cozy set among Boston's upper crust hadn't sounded all that appealing -- but I'm glad I did. Apparently MacLeod won all those awards for a good reason! I'm definitely going to be reading more of her books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This was also a very good title in the series. More of a 3.5 star. This one was all Sarah, no Max, as detective. It goes back to one of the earliest titles, and takes off from that title as a basis for this one. This is also the only book that seems to actually recapitulate an earlier title, The Palace Guard. It definitely helped to have read that title in the last few days. I had not figured out whodunit, although I should have. The hints were fairly obvious in many ways. Probably some of the b This was also a very good title in the series. More of a 3.5 star. This one was all Sarah, no Max, as detective. It goes back to one of the earliest titles, and takes off from that title as a basis for this one. This is also the only book that seems to actually recapitulate an earlier title, The Palace Guard. It definitely helped to have read that title in the last few days. I had not figured out whodunit, although I should have. The hints were fairly obvious in many ways. Probably some of the best parts was Sarah enjoying being a Mama to her 3 year old boy, Davy. This is the last of the series that I own, so unless I come across other titles I doubt I'll follow up on Sarah and Max's adventures any further. As with the others, I am tossing this title. While I liked it, I didn't like it enough to have it taking up space in my house. Darn, just realized I have 4 more of the series, in paperback. I guess I'll stay with the Bittersohns for a while longer....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Denise Spicer

    A museum administrator/talented art forger is found stabbed with an antique hairpin. Sarah and Max have been investigating the theft of art from the museum. How are the crimes connected?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Early Bird Book Deal | Sadly evident of a good author's decline | It's hard to be critical, knowing that MacLeod was probably already dealing with signs of Alzheimer's at this point, but this just wasn't very good. After a full series that never bothered to explain the past, expecting readers to read the earlier books if they wanted to understand the characters, this one alternates between fully retelling an earlier book and not explaining more useful things. In several places it felt as though Early Bird Book Deal | Sadly evident of a good author's decline | It's hard to be critical, knowing that MacLeod was probably already dealing with signs of Alzheimer's at this point, but this just wasn't very good. After a full series that never bothered to explain the past, expecting readers to read the earlier books if they wanted to understand the characters, this one alternates between fully retelling an earlier book and not explaining more useful things. In several places it felt as though the setting and victim were chosen just to make it easier on the author--instead of having to build something new, she could just fall back on work already done. Max is absent, which I'm not a fan of, and I find myself unsure why the author gave the couple a child at all if he was just going to be shunted to one side (still, better than Ramses Peabody syndrome!). Worse yet, there are long detailed and totally pointless asides throughout the book. More words are spent explaining every aspect of how Sarah does bookkeeping for the business, why, and where the actual ledgers are kept, than in explaining the motive for the murder. The motive, by the way, is thin at best, and in several ways sends to be an afterthought. I'm not convinced it actually holds up with the rest of the book as written. I'm also always scornful of the concept that someone is a murderer because they're completely insane, have been for years, but are perfectly functional until the moment they're caught, at which point they become a howling, spitting, relic of their former self, unable to differentiate between their imagined world and reality and therefore unable to stand trial because they're so totally unhinged. MacLeod used this device several times, and it's not only unrealistic, it's too easy. Things don't make sense? Crazy culprit! Loose ends? Crazy culprit! Rule of law not properly followed, so conviction uncertain? Crazy culprit! Don't ever want to have to allude to the mess and trauma of a trial? Crazy culprit! Not how mental illness works.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Not one of Ms MacLeod's better works, it takes nearly half of the book to get to the meat of the mystery. Once the half way point is passed, the book does pick up the pace and bluster forward to a somewhat satisfying conclusion. The Wicked Widows were sadly an underdeveloped device and their reason to exist fell rather flat after the build up and mystique surrounding them. Ultimately the reason for the murder is slightly at odds with the information given in the book, information that a good cop Not one of Ms MacLeod's better works, it takes nearly half of the book to get to the meat of the mystery. Once the half way point is passed, the book does pick up the pace and bluster forward to a somewhat satisfying conclusion. The Wicked Widows were sadly an underdeveloped device and their reason to exist fell rather flat after the build up and mystique surrounding them. Ultimately the reason for the murder is slightly at odds with the information given in the book, information that a good copy editor should have picked up.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kyrie

    Meh - overly explained parts in the beginning go on too long. Sarah by herself (well, as much as any Kelling is by themself) is not as good as with Max in this one. It felt like rehashing of a lot of old plots, and too contrived to be real. It's got some Wicked Widows, and the art museum, and lots of Kellings and Bittersohns running around. On the other hand, part of the charm of these books is that they really don't have much "reality".

  7. 4 out of 5

    Linda Brue

    The 11th in the series starring Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn finds Sarah all on her own. With Max off in Argentina chasing missing artwork, her son staying at a beach house with relatives, and the rest of the Bittersohn agency personnel out of town, Sarah has been left to hold everything together. She is surprised to be named the executrix for the estate of Dolores Tawne, the domineering unofficial administrator of the Wilkins Museum in Boston, who was expected at her house for tea. She fail The 11th in the series starring Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn finds Sarah all on her own. With Max off in Argentina chasing missing artwork, her son staying at a beach house with relatives, and the rest of the Bittersohn agency personnel out of town, Sarah has been left to hold everything together. She is surprised to be named the executrix for the estate of Dolores Tawne, the domineering unofficial administrator of the Wilkins Museum in Boston, who was expected at her house for tea. She failed to turn up, probably because she was face down in the courtyard of the Museum, stabbed to death with a hat pin. Her duties as an executrix don't seem that bad, until she realizes that those duties seem to have marked her for death. Besides various attempts on her life, she tries to discover what the contents of a safe deposit box, unopened for 30 years has to do with pictures of the Wicked Widows, street performers who are wanted for murdering four police officers years ago. Added fun comes from the nod to author Elizabeth Peters, when Sarah refers to the "famous female archaeologist Amelia Peabody Emerson." This isn't the best of the series. It falls a little flat with the absence of Max and the witty dialog between the couple. Charles, an actor with delusions of butlerism, has to take up the slack, and adds a touch of the absurd to the mix. Still the ending seems rushed, the perpetrators a bit obvious. Still well worth reading, because MacLeod is incapable of writing a bad book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Helen-Louise

    I like this series of "cozies" very much. This one was perfect for a weekend when I had to sit in front of a video camera as part of a medical test - no phone, no computer, no iPad, but all the books and television that I wanted. Sarah and her husband Max run a business chasing down stolen art work, except Max is in Argentina pursuing lost Watteaus during a revolution, so Sarah has to deal with a murder and a collection of stickpins worth megabucks on her own, with an assortment of assistants th I like this series of "cozies" very much. This one was perfect for a weekend when I had to sit in front of a video camera as part of a medical test - no phone, no computer, no iPad, but all the books and television that I wanted. Sarah and her husband Max run a business chasing down stolen art work, except Max is in Argentina pursuing lost Watteaus during a revolution, so Sarah has to deal with a murder and a collection of stickpins worth megabucks on her own, with an assortment of assistants that she drafts as needed. The book has a date of 1995, and the author has an apology in the front for not quite keeping up with all the changes in the geography of Boston and environs that were taking place at that time. It tickled me because I lived in Boston, near Beacon Hill and Mass General Hospital in 1962 and 1963, and have been back many times since, so i know exactly what she is talking about!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This was a strange one. Dolores Tawne of the Wilkins Museum, first met in _The Palace Guard_, turns up dead in the museum garden. Sarah discovers that Dolores has named her as executor, much to Sarah's dismay. She has also had some frightening occurrences in Max's office, where someone tries to drill through the wall and someone delivers a bloody hatpin, which turns out to be the murder weapon. All the convolutions are too complicated to describe, but someone is clearly out to get Sarah. The new This was a strange one. Dolores Tawne of the Wilkins Museum, first met in _The Palace Guard_, turns up dead in the museum garden. Sarah discovers that Dolores has named her as executor, much to Sarah's dismay. She has also had some frightening occurrences in Max's office, where someone tries to drill through the wall and someone delivers a bloody hatpin, which turns out to be the murder weapon. All the convolutions are too complicated to describe, but someone is clearly out to get Sarah. The new head of the museum is a loud obnoxious bully, Max is out of town, and Sarah is nearly over her head in problems. When a valuable stickpin collection turns up in one of Dolores's deposit boxes, the plot thickens. This book is a trifle darker than most of its predecessors, but still quite entertaining and definitely interesting!

  10. 4 out of 5

    FangirlNation

    In The Odd Job by Charlotte MacLeod, the eleventh in the Sarah Kelling/ Max Bittersohn series, someone seems to want Sarah dead! First, two young men attempt to drive Sarah off the road. Then, Sarah gets word that Dolores Tawne, the real mover and shaker of the Wilkins Museum, has died and left Sarah executrix of her estate. Next, someone sends Sarah a rusty looking old hat pin the next day. Thus when Sarah learns that the medical examiner thinks Dolores has died of some kind of brain damage, In <4>The Odd Job by Charlotte MacLeod, the eleventh in the Sarah Kelling/ Max Bittersohn series, someone seems to want Sarah dead! First, two young men attempt to drive Sarah off the road. Then, Sarah gets word that Dolores Tawne, the real mover and shaker of the Wilkins Museum, has died and left Sarah executrix of her estate. Next, someone sends Sarah a rusty looking old hat pin the next day. Thus when Sarah learns that the medical examiner thinks Dolores has died of some kind of brain damage, Sarah realizes that someone has killed Dolores with the very hat pin mailed to Sarah. Read the rest of this review, more reviews, and other wonderful, geeky articles on FangirlNation

  11. 5 out of 5

    Missie

    I am so glad that this and Charlotte MacLeod's other books are available for checkout online, especially since they are no longer to be found on public library or bookstore shelves. They are every bit as good as Agatha Christie's mysteries, and those are still available, so why not these? Hopefully they can be found at secondhand book shops. This one referred back to the events of The Palace Guard, which is the third in this series; it can, however, be enjoyed on its own, or taken as an introduc I am so glad that this and Charlotte MacLeod's other books are available for checkout online, especially since they are no longer to be found on public library or bookstore shelves. They are every bit as good as Agatha Christie's mysteries, and those are still available, so why not these? Hopefully they can be found at secondhand book shops. This one referred back to the events of The Palace Guard, which is the third in this series; it can, however, be enjoyed on its own, or taken as an introduction to The Palace Guard and the other books in the Kelling-Bittersohn. I'm not sure why they are now called "Sarah Kelling - Max Bittersohn" mysteries, since Sarah and Max were married about halfway along.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    Great series...this installment had me guessing til the reveal!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    So entertaining. So funny.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Oooh yeah!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    Challenging to finish.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    #11 in the Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn mystery series. When the doddering patrons of the Wilkins Museum learned that dozens of their priceless masterworks had been stolen and replaced by forgeries, there was no one to turn to but Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn--the savviest art detectives of the Boston upper crust. Nabbing the crooks was easy, but finding the missing paintings has proven trickier. Years later, the collection's prized Titian is still lost, and the new director, loudmouthed #11 in the Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn mystery series. When the doddering patrons of the Wilkins Museum learned that dozens of their priceless masterworks had been stolen and replaced by forgeries, there was no one to turn to but Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn--the savviest art detectives of the Boston upper crust. Nabbing the crooks was easy, but finding the missing paintings has proven trickier. Years later, the collection's prized Titian is still lost, and the new director, loudmouthed cattle baron Elwyn Fleesom Turbot, is getting impatient. And things get even more troublesome when members of his staff begin to die. It starts when Dolores Tawne, the elderly, bossy museum administrator, is stabbed through the base of her skull with an antique hatpin. Inside the dead woman's safe deposit box Sarah finds clues to a conspiracy that stretches back decades.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Max is off to Argentina, Brooks and Theonia and Jesse on a training exercise, and Mariposa called to a dying relative's bedside, so we get Sarah working the case alone with a bit of help from Charles and Uncle Jem. This case is a both eerie and ugly. I generally have trouble with books about serial killers and this was no exception. Thank heavens for Sarah's good sense and ability to foil even the worst of killers. I admit to having doubts at one point. The parts with Davy and Miriam and Ira are Max is off to Argentina, Brooks and Theonia and Jesse on a training exercise, and Mariposa called to a dying relative's bedside, so we get Sarah working the case alone with a bit of help from Charles and Uncle Jem. This case is a both eerie and ugly. I generally have trouble with books about serial killers and this was no exception. Thank heavens for Sarah's good sense and ability to foil even the worst of killers. I admit to having doubts at one point. The parts with Davy and Miriam and Ira are wonderful. I loved Davy's friends.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    Sarah has to sort out the Wilkins museum without Max's help, following the hiring of a new chairman and the murder of its well-meaning but obnoxious mainstay Dolores. Max is incommunicado in the vicinity of a South American revolution while Sarah is making her way around Boston in disguise to avoid getting killed. Her quarry is even more in disguise! Alas, this is the last Sarah Kelling mystery I own. It's been fun revisiting her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I felt a bit of a time warp reading this book. It was written in 1995 and is set in that time, but still something about the writing style and plot made me think of the 1940's or even the 20's. This is the first Sarah Kelling/Max Bittersohn mystery I've read so I didn't feel like I knew the characters as well as I should. But murder by hat pin was an interesting twist and I enjoyed the book. Will probably read more Charlotte Macleod books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This is my least favorite of the Sarah Kelling mysteries, and definitely of Charlotte MacLeod's works. Although I wouldn't say it was predictable, it was terribly bogged down by minutia and the plot was nearly lost. So for now, my new favorite MacLeod sleuth is Professor Shandy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eric Gittins

    Well worth reading

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    I think this is only my second time reading this one, and The Odd Job gives Sarah Bittersohn center stage. I really enjoyed this one, and Sarah is one of my favorite mystery series characters!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Sarah Kelling, creepy, good imagery

  24. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Sarah is pretty much on her own in the penultimate installment of the series. The mystery was even more over the top than usual but as always quite entertaining.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pat

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rick Massuch

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carey Tynan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arielibra

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