“An entertaining mystery with a dash of humor” (The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia review of “Mr. Monk Helps Himself”)

September 17, 2013
Going in to Mr. Monk Helps Himself I was unsure if I was going to like it since I never watched more than five minutes of the show. While I had some rough points, it was a generally interesting lark.
Even though the mystery aspect of the story was quite easy for me to solve, I enjoyed the humor and wit the most of the characters brought to the table in Mr. Monk Helps Himself. The fact that this book was humorous was shocking since I expected a bunch of overly serious characters (as you can see I never watched the show).
While I may have been annoyed with Natalie, I enjoyed that her character was able to take charge of the growth she would need to be taken seriously as a P.I. and that as the book progressed she stuck with the line she drew. I admit that I enjoy reading about a character who sticks with the demands she makes, as, well as one who keeps trying to improve her skills.
Oddly enough, what I enjoyed the most about Hy Conrad’s book would have to be Monk himself. He was definitely one oddball with his obsessive neatness and germ phobia, but what made him interesting was seeing how under that craziness was seeing how he would try and step up out of his comfort zone to help his friends. I actually did not expect to like Monk’s character because of his eccentricities and because sometimes eccentric characters are just a little too out there (or overly done).
While an interesting read, there are two things that kept me from fully loving this one. One, the narrator, Natalie, kind of annoyed me. The reason I did not much care for Natalie’s narration of the events in Mr. Monk Helps Himself is because her character came across as flat and like she was trying too hard to be bigger than her character actually was. Two, the mysteries behind the two different crimes that Monk and Natalie worked on were a little too transparent for my taste. It might just be that I read entirely too many books and thus can unravel a plot in about fifty pages…I’ll leave the decision of this being a well spun mystery to you.
Final Verdict: Mr. Monk Helps Himself- an entertaining mystery with a dash of humor.