The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Overall, this is a fairly amusing whodunit that's reminiscent of all locked-room cozy mysteries but set in a spaceship. Or rather, a luxury cruise liner in space.
I wanted to like this more. It's decent for what it is, but something nagged me throughout the read. In particular, our MC is super rich AND popular, taking her honeymoon trip on this cruise incognito. Oh, and did I mention she's a great inventor, her new husband is an investigator, and our MC survived a massive injury earlier on that is managed through an implant and a service dog?
There are so many things going for her. I'm also reminded, some, of MRK's regency fantasy, and how relationships are totally perfect, it's only outside situations that make things janky. In this case, her new husband is set up as a murderer and all things get wonky.
So what's my problem? It's a total mary sue setup. While she does get out there and employ a lot of agency to solve this mystery and save her man, it really irked me how much she used her influence and wealth to bully, cajole, and intimidate her way through the plot.
And while the whole mixology gimmick WAS pretty cool in concept, and apparently some of those drinks-per-chapter were zero-proof, it just felt WRONG that she was engaged in so much merrymaking or drunkenness while her BRAND NEW HUSBAND was beaten, imprisoned, accused of murder, and she was free to move about and have fun.
So. Yeah. There's that.
As long as I ignore a lot of these nagging points, it IS a light, fun mystery. I wouldn't have nominated this for a Hugo, but I'm not that upset having read it. I'd call this a popcorn read, at best, and I'd still be bitching about the MC.
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