Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I think this is going to be the last cozy mystery for a while. I’m going to hunt out something new for the next month. Hopefully my disclaimer above is up to scratch, please let me know if there’s something I should have said. It’s my first rodeo.
My summary: A female vicar with a nose for trouble (and cake) gets drawn into another murder investigation, which she has quite the knack for doing. Spoilers ahead.
Plot: Trots along neatly, it feels like the story overall is completed in just a few days. I think that’s not an uncommon thing for this genre, because when you sit down at the end of a week to read something light you don’t want the story dragging on. This one has more depth than the last book I reviewed on account of the above vicar, and the mystery is solved in between delicious cake, adorable puppies and something that just may become a budding romance. I’ve been tracking that last one for at least two books now.
Also! This book introduces a bit of a darker aspect to this sleepy village, which I quite liked, and thankfully the explanation wasn’t tangled like a ball of yarn.
The murderer. For once, I guessed correctly. I think it was something in the set-up of introducing this person, or maybe just the way they were portrayed, but… yeah. Can’t say I was surprised when the Vicar confronted the murderer. Just, thank goodness it wasn’t a case of it being the One Person We Never Saw, Ever.
Characters: Likeable, comfortable as stepping into an old pair of boots, and developing character. As I said there’s the above potential romance, which has me side-eyeing the books speculatively. Enough new characters are introduced to make the murder, backstory, suspects etc work, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. We’re getting to know them better as we go along.
I find I can visualize with relative ease the characters, so they’re not just drawn with pencil on tracing paper. They’re filled in, outlined and defined. It’s also a bonus being able to picture places and locations.
Cover and title: Stylized. Each one features the Vicar and the new cause of the mystery. Consistent, which I like, and the titles are neatly alliterative. It’s very pleasing to my ear.
Netflix Scale is broken, but I read this over the weekend. There were probably other things in the background but I’m remembering the book well enough that I’m not referring heavily to it as I type. Also, I don’t remember what else I may have been doing in the background.
Overall 4 stars, as rated on Goodreads. I felt the murderer was set up a bit too much, maybe that could have been toned down to make it a bit more surprising. This time the perpetrator was someone we saw frequently enough that they didn’t fade into the shadows and come crawling out just in time to reveal the dastardly plot. Cake descriptions are given their due respect, but without droning on and on.
And, importantly, it’s not heavy on the preaching.
Ending: a brief epilogue, in which the secondary plots are resolved and setting up for the next book. As it should be.
Food comparison: Homemade ciabatta with roast beef and mustard, carefully seasoned. Follow with a cupcake – Annabelle would approve.