MRS. MALORY AND THE FATAL LEGACY
Mrs. Malory and the Fatal Legacy is the ninth contemporary cozy in Hazel Holt’s ever British Shelia Malory series, and it’s still as fresh as ever. Sheila Malory is fifty...ish, a widow, the mother of a successful son, and a popular writer of nineteenth century novels, but her real claim to fame is her sleuthing skills. Fate has a habit of dropping mysteries into Mrs. Malory’s lap knowing she has as an exceptional gift for solving them.
Lately Mrs. Malory has been behaving pretty laid back. She seems comfortable with herself and her life in Somerset, England, so staying home, sipping tea, and sharing an evening with her pets sounds much better than going to a literary party of full of bookish know-it-alls. Her son Michael effectively prompts her to go, and once there, Shelia runs into some old Oxford school chums. One such friend whose name and popularity as a famous novelist hasn’t change her true personality is Dame Elizabeth Blackmore, who still goes by Beth. They reminisce, have a good time, and promise to meet up again. Later they talk briefly, Beth shares some things that are concerning her. Soon Sheila gets a call saying her dear friend has passed away and the coroner has ruled it Death by Misadventure. Shelia suddenly finds herself back on the writing arena as Beth’s literary executor. She must write a biography of Beth’s life and prepare her unpublished work for publishing. Shelia finds her quiet life suddenly overwhelmed with a shocked widower, his angry grown children, a greedy publisher, and some even more greedy scholars. Once she moves in with Aunt Hilda to be near the work, and persons unknown begin reeking havoc on her work, Shelia doesn’t think she will ever get back to her quiet, cozy village.
I found Mrs. Malory and the Fatal Legacy to be a smooth, composed read. Shelia’s relaxed attitude had me wondering if there was going to be a mystery at all, but then she meets up with the school chums, the feeling of a plot begins; the conversation and characters held my attention, and once the first death occurred, the mystery took off in more than one direction leading to a satisfactory end.
Hazel Holt’s Mrs. Malory series is a laid-back cozy coo waiting to tempt its next literary victim into a mystery menagerie of delight.