Totally Buzzed by Gale Borger is classic mystery-comedy spoof in the vein of The Three Stooges romps and Police Squad antics.
If you like your murders mixed with folksy shenanigans then a visit to White Bass Lake, Wisconsin is the place to go. Buzz Miller can’t seem to retire gracefully (or do anything gracefully for that matter) from the town’s police force. When a body turns up under her parents’ porch, Buzz sees it as her duty to get involved by assisting her ex-partner, Sheriff James J. Green in the investigation. Unfortunately the rest of her family feels the same way. Amateur sleuths and plot twists abound to keep you guessing at which characters are the good guys and who (if anyone) will eventually solve this murder. Throw in a few picnics, some romance brewing and a couple of strange pets and you have the makings for something to please everyone.
Borger aptly uses her knowledge of law enforcement and Master Gardener skills to keep the story supplied with interesting facts. As characters go, I found Buzz’s family, their friends and the police force a little too laid back about the bodies, gangsters and drug dealers to take any of the attempts at drama believable. Borger’s backstory on Buzz’s abusive ex-husband, the “Irish Magic” visions and graphic murder scenes are offset by too much slapstick, silly metaphors and juvenile behavior. This novel could have easily been reworked as a lighthearted mystery, serious crime plot or supernatural mystery-suspense; not as all three at once.
Overall the visits to Sal’s Diner are enjoyable and the narrator’s descriptions of her family entertaining. If you can overlook a few typos and tasteless “R-rated” scenes, Totally Buzzed offers a refreshing look at a more laid back lifestyle in the American Midwest.