by Cynthia Chow
& Maddy Hunter
This week we have a review of another fun travel mystery, Say No Moor: A Passport to Peril Mystery By Maddy Hunter, and we have a fun Valentine’s Day travel guest post! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Say No Moor, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Say No Moor: A Passport to Peril Mystery By Maddy Hunter
Review by Cynthia Chow
Emily Miceli is taking her loyal clients of Destinations Travel on a whirlwind tour through southwest England, but considering their record of murder and mayhem, she should have expected a few speed bumps. To promote her and her husband’s new tourist agency, Emily has offered a discount rate to an additional six bloggers in exchange for some positive social media publicity. That seems rather improbable when at Cornwall’s Stand and Deliver Inn they battle with its distinctly New Jersey-accented chef, get flooded out of their rooms, and find the aforementioned chef dead. The Windsor City seniors may have become accustomed to encountering a body or five, but with the inn’s owner arrested Emily finds herself attempting to keep the place afloat to appease her blogging clientele. While Emily’s grandmother admirably steps up to the place in the kitchen with outstanding Midwestern meals, a series of inexplicable burglaries seem doomed to award their vacation with a rotten tomato.
As Emily plants metal detecting treasure hunts and ventures to lawsuit-inducing ancient sites, she must mediate between competitive bloggers, one a researching Austenite and the other a far more progressive Austen Zombie Girl. As events conspire to strand them at the inn as their numbers start to dwindle, an even more dire fate awaits the tech-savvy Iowans; the loss of the use of their smartphones.
Expect chaos, zany adventures, and loads of humor and social commentary with this eleventh in the Passport to Peril mystery series. The seductive former Swiss police inspector Etienne Miceli is unfortunately off with his family to meet the Pope, so Emily will have to rely on her ex-husband, the gender-reassigned Jackie Thum for dubious support.
The bloggers may have thousands of followers, but the Iowan seniors are no slouches themselves at Twitter feed blasts, selfies, or Google searches. Their very modern reliance on their social media tech for survival is as hilarious as it is ironic, especially in such illustrious, historical settings. The highlights of this series are always the very regional quirks of Emily’s Iowan tourists, who race to be an hour early, know how to pinch a penny, and appreciate their most irritable member’s implacable snarkiness. As the novel’s criminal escapades escalate, so do the laughs, and at the core is the warm embrace of this unique little family. This continues to be a delightful series where the characters have become even more likable and enjoyable as their familiarity grows.
A Valentine’s Day Primer for the Globetrotting Traveler
by Maddy Hunter
In my never-ending quest to discover new places to kill off fictional characters for my Passport to Peril mystery series, I’ve seen sites I’d only ever dreamed about visiting. The Colosseum. The Palace at Versailles. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. I’ve climbed to towering heights in Florence, ascending all 463 steps to the top of the famed and acoustically spectacular Duomo, and descended into the cavernous depths of craters left behind when Allied bombs pummeled the Normandy coast on D-Day. I’ve seen startling displays — like the human skeletons hanging from the walls in the bowels of a church in Sicily – and adorable ones – like Madurodam in the Hague, where you can stroll through a miniature scale model of the Netherlands as if you were Gulliver in Lilliput.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, however, I’m reminded of the lesser known sites I’ve visited where the atmosphere was more conducive to romantic flights of fancy. After all, what could be more enchanting than a deserted beach at sunset, a castle like Sleeping Beauty’s, or a city that looks as if it belongs in a fairytale?
If your idea of romance is a stroll along an endless strand of beach with the incoming tide nipping at your toes, plan to visit the beaches along Kaui’s north coast, from Princeville to the trail head of the Na Pali coast. The sand is powder white and bordered by a jungle of lush vegetation in a setting so exotic, you’ll be belting out songs from South Pacific (which was filmed on these beaches) before you know it.
If castles are on your romantic radar, I recommend an intimate picnic on the lawns of Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England, with its idyllic country setting, expansive moat with lily pads, iconic round towers, and crenellations. The interior has fallen into ruin, but the exterior is still as breathtaking as it was when the castle was built seven hundred years ago.
Romantic cities? The top contenders might be Paris and Rome, but I was wowed by Bruges, a centuries’ old city in Belgium, with it cobblestone streets and walkways, its horse-drawn carriages, charming canals, wild swans, Old World architecture, and stone bridges. Visiting Bruges is like taking a step back in time… into the world of a treasured fairytale.
One of the most romantic places I ever visited though is neither beach, nor castle, nor city. It was a bar in Lucerne, Switzerland, in the Hotel Chateau Gutsch. You reach the venue by funicular (think elevator car) that scales a mountainside to deposit you at the Chateau. At night, if you don’t have dinner reservations, you’ll be escorted into the bar area where you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the city after dark, with its twinkling lights and mysterious shadows. When I was there, I sat in a cozy sitting area with dimmed lighting and appetizers displayed inside a grand piano. Buoyed by the atmosphere and feeling magnanimous, I ordered drinks for the four people in my party. Our cocktails arrived a full hour later – tiny thimblefuls of alcohol served in dainty glasses. When I received the bill at the end of the evening, I received my second shock. Four cocktails ran about the same price as a small car!
The lesson to be learned here is that there are romantic places around the world that can be enjoyed for free, but should you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the bar at the Hotel Chateau Gutsch, I’ll give you a word of warning.
Be sure to bring your credit card.
To enter to win a copy of Say No Moor, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “moor,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 17, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.