Mums and Mayhem (A Magic Garden Mystery #3)

Mums and Mayhem (A Magic Garden Mystery #3)  by Amanda Flower

49504556. sx318 sy475 When I saw this as a Read Now on Netgalley, I eagerly snatched it up! In Mums and Mayhem, Fi has her hands full. Not only is she helping out with a homecoming concert put on by a superstar musician to the small village of Bellewick, but her parents are also in town to visit (and to guilt the girls into returning to run the family farm) and to cap it all off, someone killed the magic garden she’s been tasked with keeping!

I really enjoyed the main mystery, who killed superstar fiddler Barley. Plenty of people were angry with Barley but who was angry enough to kill him? Fingers were pointed all in all directions and even Fiona’s father is a suspect! In the end, the true killer was a surprise and the exciting ending made for a real page turner.

But it was the magic garden was what sucked me into this series from the beginning; I’ve been under the spell of magic gardens ever since I read The Secret Garden at the age of 9. It was with a sense of dread when Fiona discovered the garden dying. How could this happen? Who would do such a thing? It wasn’t hard to figure out, but the why was was a head scratcher and I wondered why Fiona hadn’t noticed the tell tale clue. The reasons for the vandalism were unnecessary. Although there was no legal recourse, I would’ve asked a few of the old salty dogs at the shipyard to handle the situation for me.

It was good to see Fiona and her parents settle a few issues and come to an understanding. But I have to say, Isla is an annoying woman who acts like a bratty 8 year old and the more annoying she gets, the more Fiona (and her parents) seem to shrug it off. I don’t get it. Go home, Isla. Marry a farmer. Go be a problem somewhere else.

Overall, a solid mystery and a very enjoyable read

Release Date: August 11, 2020

His Father’s Ghost (Mina Scarletti #5)

His Father’s Ghost (Mina Scarletti #5) by Linda Stratmann

53983251. sy475 First off, I can say that my automatic rating for this series is five stars, it’s that good. The Victorian period is painstakingly portrayed so realistically, I expect to see men in top hats driving by my window in horse carriages.

Mina is an intelligent and spirited young woman battling Scoliosis, which she manages with grace and strength. But when a slight cold becomes serious, she is tucked away into bed, protected from the outside world by her hired nurse and her family. But that doesn’t stop Mina from cracking another Spiritualist case. Using her dedicated friends, she delves into the mystery of Franklin, a young lad haunted by the ghost of his father, Jasper, who vanished seven years before after falling off a yacht into the sea. Shortly after his disappearance, the truth was revealed; Jasper was on the verge of bankruptcy and was unable to hide his money troubles any longer. But without a body, it took several years to have him declared legally dead. Shortly after, his widow married a new husband and the rumors started flying once again.

Desperate to help her young son, the widow asks Mina to help. Mina, fascinated by the disappearance, calls in her network of friends tp find information about the case. Slowly, she works her way through the web of misinformation and finally uncovers the truth.

I started this after supper and couldn’t put it down until I finished it well after midnight. The plot, characters and locale are so vivid, so three dimensional that I felt like I was right there in the thick of things. When I picked up the book, I thought that Mina being stuck in bed for the majority of the book would make it dull, but that wasn’t the case at all. Between Mina’s brother Richard’s tales and the observations of the flamboyant actor Mr. Merridew, I felt like I was seeing it through their eyes.  I loved the ending, which neatly tied the threads together and even made me a bit misty.

Truly, this is a magnificent series and one I heartily recommend to historical mystery and cozy mystery fans alike.

Released July 20, 2020