Tarragon has a booth selling refreshments at the Hobson Glen
Holiday Fair, and like many other people she has been enjoying
the performances by the Williamsburg Theatre Group. But there
are tensions in the group stemming from the recent inclusion
of the beautiful and talented Jenny Inkpen, who is the star
of every show. When Tish delivers breakfast to the actors
next morning she finds the unpopular Jenny dead in her trailer.
Convinced that the police are looking at the wrong suspect
she turns sleuth again to discover whodunit.
is the third in the series and like the first two, there is
a lot to like about it. Severn Houses has picked a good example
of the cozy mystery genre; this series contains most of the
good features of this type of story and none of the bad. We
have an amateur sleuth running a café with her loveable
team, a small town packed with secrets where everybody knows
one another (or thinks they do) and at least one love interest.
You won’t find crazy relations, paranormal goings-on,
too much about cute pets or an overabundance of romance. Cutting
out a lot of this clutter means that instead you get a good
story with plenty of detecting and a group of characters you
get to know well and like. Tish is a divorcee in her late
forties with a gay assistant and it is cheering to see how
she cares about her team, helping out an employee who is down
on their luck. This is surely what “cozy” really
means; the sort of positive life-affirming actions that we
all wish were part of our own everyday lives This entry has
a more convoluted and teasing plot with a lot of elements,
which makes it harder to guess whodunit, and even if you do
you won’t guess everything that’s going on. Throw
in some tangible descriptions of the Christmas fair and you
have a book with a lot going for it. May there be many more
in this series.