After I finished #7 in the series, I realized it WAS #7. So I thought, hey, some of the Mrs. Murphy books later in the series are sort of awful unless you know the characters. And I love Mrs. Murphy! Let's read the first one in this series, and maybe I'll fall in love.
I wouldn't have read #7 if I'd read this stinker. Wow. It was terrible. I mean, objectively terrible. I got bored by the situation, I could barely tell the minor characters apart (and I didn't exactly need to, since they all existed solely to help the main character even though they'd all just met), the pace was like skiing in sludge, I didn't care about the main character, and for the first time in my life I skipped the entire middle half of a mystery just to see who killed the old lady.
The story did not suffer thereby.