by Sandra Murphy
& Terrance McArthur
This week we have another catch up group of fun mysteries-A Deadly Endowment: A Lady & Lady’s Maid Mystery by Alyssa Maxwell, Murder at a Scottish Social: A Scottish Shire Mystery by Traci Hall, and A Murder Like No Author: A Main Street Book Club Mystery by Amy Lillard. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3 books and links to purchase them at the end of each review–you may not be able to see the Amazon links if you have ad blocker on.
A Deadly Endowment: A Lady & Lady’s Maid Mystery by Alyssa Maxwell
Review by Sandra Murphy
After WWI, times are lean, even for the gentry. Class distinctions are blurred. Lady Phoebe has suggested her grandparents open the manor house for tours. The idea was not well-received but finally they gave in.
The first tour is made up of the historical society and a group of school children. As unruly as kids can be during a talk about the history of the house, the members of the society are worse about wandering off on their own and going in parts of the house that were not meant to be part of the tour.
There are two writers in the group, one working on a book and a magazine writer. The author has her son along plus one of the society members seems quite taken with her. Lady’s maid Eva must constantly track down the wanderers and herd them back to the group.
When the author is found in the library with a drapery cord around her neck, the suspects can rightly include everyone in the group except the children who had been sent out to play in the gardens. The local constable latches onto the most likely suspect and calls the case solved. Lady Phoebe thinks the man is unjustly accused. She and Eva set out to find the real culprit.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Phoebe’s older sister, Julia, has disappeared or at least, isn’t where she’s supposed to be. An unsavory relative has appeared, bent on causing trouble. Rumors spread; a treasure is hidden on the property although no one’s heard of it before. There’s a photo missing from the library, but no one can explain it. All in all, Phoebe wishes she’d never thought of tours to supplement income for the manor house.
This is book seven in the series. There’s possible romance for several of the characters. Change is coming and not everyone is ready to embrace it. Readers will be anxious for book eight to see just what happens next.
Murder at a Scottish Social: A Scottish Shire Mystery by Traci Hall
Review by Sandra Murphy
Paislee Shaw is happy to contribute a hand-knit cashmere sweater set for auction plus have a booth to sell merchandise from her shop, Cashmere Crush, at the Nairn Food Bank fundraiser. Her friend Blaise is sharing the booth and has entered her almond cookies in the annual contest. Of course, it’s always been won by Kirsten, but as they say, it’s an honor to be nominated.
What Paislee didn’t realize was mean girls from grade school and high school grow up to be mean women. As adults, they just have more power and money. Kirsten is the leader of the clique made up of school mothers.
The first day’s sales are a huge success and bidding is going well on the auction items. When it’s time for the cookie judging, Blaise is a nervous wreck. It doesn’t help that Kirsten makes a scene and accuses her personal chef of changing the presentation of her cookies, and are these even hers? To be sure there’s not been a switch, she licks the brown sugar topping and takes a bit—and gasping, falls to the floor.
Paislee administers CPR, but Kirsten is pronounced dead at the hospital, severe allergic reaction to peanuts in the cookie. She always carried an EpiPen, but it wasn’t to be found.
Kirsten has enemies starting with the chef, the women in her group, a lover no one knew she had, the list is long. Paislee wants nothing to do with the murder but is drawn in by Blaise and oddly, the DI assisting with the case. He usually warns her to stay out of any and all investigations.
On the home front, things are settling down nicely with her grandfather. Paislee hopes he’ll stay on to help with her son Brody, Wallace the Scottish terrier, and the shop. Brody’s best friend Edwyn is beginning to notice girls while Brody is still focused on football, leading to some disagreements. Business in the shop is brisk with all the tourists.
When evidence seems to point at Blaise, Paislee does manage to ask a few questions here and there—and maybe go on one excursion that turns out, um, okay. Well, they lost a missing suspect but did find his hiding place, so that’s something.
This is book three in the series, all reviewed here. Paislee is a likable character, sensible where family is concerned and a good businesswoman. Grandfather is mellowing. Brody and Wallace, well, who can resist a kid and his Scottie? This is a series I look forward to with characters you’d want as friends and a town you’d love to visit. The mysteries just add to the enjoyment with a continuing thread about Pailee’s missing uncle.
A Murder Like No Author: A Main Street Book Club Mystery by Amy Lillard
Review by Terrance McArthur
Wally Harrison is dead, to begin with, in Amy Lillard’s third Main Street Book Club Mystery, A Murder Like No Author. He died in the first book in the series, Can’t Judge a Book By Its Murder. Now, a movie has been made from his bestseller, “Missing Girl.” The premiere will be held in his home town of Sugar Springs, Mississippi, but trouble shows up; Petro, a Russian stranger, claims Wally didn’t write it—the real author was Wally’s assistant, who murdered him. He never gives his proof because his body is found in the aisle of the Coliseum, a classic movie house being restored for the premiere.
Arlo Stanley, co-owner of Arlo and Chloe’s Books and More, finds herself enmeshed in the mystery because of the book club she started in the bookstore—three senior ladies who prefer solving murders to discussing books. Helen Johnson runs the inn where Petro stayed. Fern Conley thinks ghosts killed the man…and are doing all sorts of mischief in the old theatre. Camille may have been part of the CIA, and she seems to carry any needed item in her white handbag. Together, the trio make life impossibly complicated for Arlo and Mads, the former NFL player, current chief of police, and maybe a love interest for Arlo.
Who killed Petro? There are lots of strangers in town for the premiere. Veronica, Wally’s agent, has arrived to talk about the unpublished manuscript of another book of his. A mysterious lady in red walks the streets. Imitators of the movie’s young female star are competing in a contest. Helen might be a subject because Petro tried to extort a free room from her in a public argument.
Lillard fills her book with quirky characters, strange situations, paranormal suspicion, and a solid mystery. Even if the Main Street Book Club never gets around to reading any books, you still ought to join them.
To enter to win a copy of all 3 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “march catchup” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 12, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT MAY TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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