Goodreads: The Great Mogul Diamond
Series: The DoppleGanger Chronicles #3
When Muzz Elliot begins to receive threatening messages, twin sisters Sadie and Saskia Doppel naturally get themselves involved, along with their aspiring detective friend Erik Ganger. Events quickly spiral out of control, however, when they realize that someone is framing Elliot by setting up crimes just as they occurred in her mystery novels.
At this point, I think I have to admit to myself that I am reading this series for the artwork. Once again the author presents readers with an exciting, action-packed plot filled with desperate villains, puzzling mysteries, and near-death experiences galore. And, once again upon reflection, the plot does not actually make sense.
The summary on the back of the book informs readers that the premise is that someone is blackmailing mystery author Muzz Elliot by setting up crimes that mirror the ones she has written about in her books. Thus, she boards a train and a woman is clothed in her hat and coat and shoved in her coat closet. The crimes continue from there. It remains unclear why the villains think that setting up such obvious scenarios would make Elliot a suspect. Would anyone really drag a woman into their own closet after dressing the victim in their own clothes? And would anyone really commit crimes the exact way he or she had portrayed them in fiction?
Later on it is revealed (and this is a SPOILER) that the villains actually just set up this elaborate crime scenario to convince Elliot and her friends to snatch a famed diamond from a hotel in the same way she had portrayed such a theft in a different book. (But the bonus is apparently that, if it fails, the previous crimes somehow still frame Elliot. Even though afterwards it appears that they criminals actually want the police to think Elliot was framed.) Again I was left with questions. Why all the bother? Couldn’t they have just asked Muzz Elliot to do the deed in one of their letters? Suggesting a way through a series of crimes just makes the villains more vulnerable, doesn’t it? These criminals clearly had too much time on their hands.
The religious elements, meanwhile, become progressively clearer, even though Madame Raphael still insists on cryptically referring to God and to His Son as “the Companion” and “the Man of Good-bye Friday”, respectively. The dangers into which the twins and Erik keep throwing themselves are encouraging them all to develop more of a relationship with God. At this point, they’re still basically all saying “foxhole prayers” but it is a start, and it’s actually rather refreshing to see characters ask for spiritual help when in distress. Typically even characters who seem to have a faith do not do so, but it is something I would expect and so it’s a realistic touch. I just find it odd that the story keeps “veiling” the identities of the religious figures.
The story ends with the suggestion that the series will continue, but all three books work nicely as stand-alones and I am not in any hurry to read a fourth. I enjoyed trying something new with this series–the illustrated novel–but remain unimpressed with the plots and with the lack of intelligent action on the part of the nosy teenage protagonists. It’s too bad. The art is wonderful.