Tuesday, February 25, 2020

British Murder

Meier, Leslie. British Murder. New York: Kensington, 2020.

This book is an omnibus featuring two earlier Lucy Stone mysteries set in England.

English Tea Murder: Lucy Stone and some of her friends join a tour group from Winchester College to England. While still in the air, the tour leader dies of an allergic reaction. A doctor on board the plane who is a member of the group is unable to save the man in time. Lucy and her friends begin to notice some strange things. One member of the group attempts suicide; Lucy's friend Pam is barely spared when pushed in front of traffic. Could the members of the group be involved in a conspiracy? If so, what possible reason could they have had to murder a well-beloved professor? The mystery element in this book is fairly light. The book is mostly an account of a visit to England with a few misadventures along the way. While I enjoyed the sights and sounds of England, I was a bit disappointed that there was not a more clear-cut murder in this one.

British Manor Murder: Lucy's grandson moved to Alaska with her son and his wife. She mopes because she missed seeing the lad. Her friend Sue asks Lucy to accompany her to England for a hat show at Moreton Manor. They expected more grandeur, but find the manor itself serves as a tourist attraction while the family lives in a secondary house. As they wander in the maze, they find a corpse. They discover things are not quite they seem at the manor with cheap reproductions replacing valuable art pieces. Some inconsistency exists between the earlier installment with a British setting and this one. In English Tea Murder Pam, faced with a maze, states the key is to turn to the left since designers know most people will turn right. In this one, Pam can't figure out which way to go and turns right, getting them lost in the maze. It seems either Pam or Lucy would remember this and automatically go left.

I received the omnibus as an electronic advance copy through NetGalley with expectations of an honest review.

Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut

Graves, Sarah. Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut. New York: Kensington Books, 2020.

The town's pirate festival promises to be good business for Jacobia "Jake" and her friend Ellie who own the local bakery. When a man turns up dead in their basement, Jake becomes the chief suspect and knows she needs to catch the person or persons responsible before she lands in jail. The bakery plays a secondary role in this adventure with the seaside location paramount. While the main characters feel better developed than in the first installment, the mystery itself needs better plotting. Jake and Ellie come across as bumbling fools who fail to heed their own intuition, rather than clever amateur detectives. I almost quit reading this installment when a snake scene went on far too long. Potential exists for the series, but it still needs a dose of reality achieve it.

Coconut Layer Cake Murder

Fluke, Joanne. Coconut Layer Cake Murder. New York: Kensington Books, 2020.

Hannah accompanies her mother to California to visit a relative. Doc prescribed the vacation for her when he diagnosed her with stress. It isn't long until she receives a message the police need her help in an investigation in which Lonnie's presence makes him a suspect. Mike can't investigate because Lonnie is his partner. Only a newly minted detective and the chief himself can investigate, so even the chief wants Hannah to meddle this time. The victim's personality made her unpopular so several persons held motives. A remains of a coconut layer cake plays into the investigation, thus giving the installment its title. The book contains lots of recipes. The premise of this one does not really hold up that well as the police would have called in the state to conduct the investigation. However, it was fun. The love triangle between Hannah, Norman, and Mike continues. I received an electronic advance copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.