I love fish 'n chips - it is a splurge for me. I saw this new mystery series featured a mom-and-pop fried fish dinner and a New England setting, I had to give a try. I am glad I did.
Copyright: May 2015 (Berkley) 296 pgs
Series: 1st in Deep Fried Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy
Main Characters: Talia Marby, works at Lambert’s Fish and Chips
Setting: Modern day, Berkshires in Maryland
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
Talia left a miserable job, and a broken relationship in Boston and has returned to her hometown in the Berkshires. She picks up a job in Lambert's Fish & Chips to help out the owners since one is in the hospital. Lambert's is just one business in a shopping plaza that resembles an old English village. But Phil Turnbull, the owner of a lighting store is on the rampage to prevent a comic book store from opening in the plaza. Phil turns up dead and Bea is suspected. Talia vows to clear Bea's name and in the process finds out many unpleasant things about Phil.
Talia is kind-hearted and mending from a break-up and quitting a job. We see her come into her own in the course of the story. I found her an easy character to like and identify with. Bea, a sweet grand-mother type who runs Lambert's Fish and Chips. There are a variety of shop owners: Suzi Sato runs the bath and body store, Jill Follansbee owns the tea shop, Jim Jepson, her former Geometry teacher has the pottery store, Cliff Colby and others. Rachel is Talia's BFF and some comedy relief. Ryan Collins, an old high school classmate now a software designer (not a cop!) and potential boyfriend. I don't often think the romantic interest is a stand-out, but Ryan is a great character and I am looking forward to more of him. I can't forget to mention the sweet little calico cat Bojangles that Talia entices into her home.
The Berkshires was a good setting for the story, made me want to visit. Am I the only person with a vacation wish list resulting from story locations? The plot proceeded with the reader thinking the story and murder is about one thing, to be surprised that it is all about something completely different, even with the clues right there. Excellent plot written well to give a great surprise.
The pacing was perfect, my interest was maintained and engaged throughout and I zipped through it as a result. The climax and killer reveal was unique and tense, had me on the edge-of-my-seat. The wrap-up was heartening and paves the way for more adventures.
This is a cozy mystery done right! Good characters, not too quirky but developed and enjoyable with a tantalizing mystery that delivers a great twist. I want more.
Rating: Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend.
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