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Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death on the Cable Car

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Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death on the Cable Car

by James J. Cudney

Mistaken Identity CrisisI am sure that I have not read a more complex cozy mystery with regard to characters than Mistaken Identity Crisis. Author James J. Cudney had my head spinning with all of the intricate relationships in his story. Fortunately, he includes a categorized list of characters with brief descriptions for support if you get confused. To my surprise, I only referred to it a few times as the characters appear multiple times and Cudney puts them in context with references to their relationships and backgrounds. Therefore, they rapidly take on unique identities for the reader.

Along with an emphasis on characters, Cudney has devised a complicated plot with more than one mystery. Hop aboard the campus cable car to find a dead body, intrigue with stolen jewels, and symbolic black calla lilies. Kellan, a professor at Braxton, comes closer to resolution with his presumed dead wife Francesca and two warring mobs. Feisty Nana D takes office as the new mayor, and Kellan sees a new side of April, the local sheriff.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #4 in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, and I recommend reading this series in sequence.

  2. Includes a helpful map and list of characters

Publication:   June 30, 2019—Creativa

Memorable Lines:

I could only conclude that he was a bit of a chameleon, depending on the situation and balance of power in the relationship.

You are right, Kellan. I’ve been giving you mixed signals,” April said, offering one of the rare concessions I’d usually witness only during full moons in a leap year once a millennium.

Stress and fear plummeted inside me until they knocked my body out of balance and sent me careening against the stone pillar in the Stanton driveway.


  1. Hi! I appreciate all you’ve said here, and that you keep reading the series. Thank you very much. I am grateful for the feedback, and I love the chameleon line too!

    The plots are getting more complex. I worry at times if I’m overdoing it, but I am also pushing out of cozy and into more of a heavier mystery… there’s a weird middle road.

    What I will say… I reduced my outline in book 6 because I also felt it was too much this time! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      I think it is healthy for there to be latitude within the mystery genre and even within cozy mysteries. Mysteries that are thrillers, police procedurals, crime, cozy…just “plain” mysteries (think Agatha Christie) and more. Humorous to dark. It’s definitely a continuum and as a writer you certainly don’t have to put yourself in a box. I enjoy that you play with your work, experimenting, fine tuning, and growing as an author. I look forward to reading your latest, but I had to read this one first!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Plus, that mafia scene you mentioned… my heart raced while writing it, and it does when I reread it now too. :O

    Liked by 1 person

  3. carhicks says:

    I agree Linda, there is a lot to this series. There are a lot of characters and lots going on, but I still love these books. Jay is right, they are more of a mystery with some aspects of cozy (small town, amateur sleuth).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wendy says:

    I don’t like when I pick up a series out of order, it messes up the other books.
    Good review!

    Liked by 1 person

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