When the entire village is invited to a garden party for a mysterious ‘special announcement’, nobody expected that party to end with a man being thrown to his death from a window. The murder is committed at Julia South’s estranged father’s manor, so all eyes in Peridale turn to her to solve the case. In a race against the clock, Julia must juggle her blossoming romance with Detective Inspector Brown, and her young lodger, Jessie’s, sudden strange behaviour, to uncover the truth behind the man’s untimely death. With members of her own family in the frame, will Julia like what she discovers? (Goodreads)
I enjoyed this second installment much better than the first one.
The introduction was strong and the build-up to the murder case is well-delineated, laying out all the hints and bad raps about the later-to-be-possible suspects, especially the descriptions of chirpy, nosy villagers are spot-on. I could easily visualize what they are like and that helped me to ease into the story. It was really nicely done.
I found the writing is much more suspenseful this time. So much so, the author pulled my leg the first time when the piercing noise came and had me believing the murder was happening. I think she is great at generating tension.
I also enjoyed the mystery elements in this book as well. In the last book, I was a bit frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t ‘play detective,’ failing to piece together the clues and hints that lead to the murderer. I might be wrong, but there were things that weren’t revealed in the book but Julia only knows (or finds out) and those were unraveled only after the culprit reveal.
But this time, all the info and hints are out on the table, without Julia holding out anything so that the readers can pin down the villain as we go along which is the point I most valued in this book.
The plotline with Jessie adds a nice touch, too. Jessie’s erratic behavior was an unexpected twist, and it had me wondering and concerned what was going on. I was attached to the characters and their stories. I have a hunch this is going to be a nice cozy-mystery series where a family drama also plays an integral part.
Although I had a slight issue with Julia for constantly trying to outmaneuver Detective Inspector Brown (I was a bit frustrated by her to be honest), This second book in the series got me hopeful for the series. I will read the next book and see where it takes me 🙂
My Rating: ★★★★