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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Review - Dearly Departed

I started with the first book, Toured to Death (click here), when it came out and didn't keep up with the series.  I wanted something with an exciting location and remembered this travel series.  This is the second in the series.  The author did a guest blog (click here) a little while back as well.  Read on and find out how the second book did.

Hy Conrad

Copyright: February 2016 (Kensington) 368 pgs

Series: 2nd in Amy's Travel Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Amy Abel, Widow and owner of Amy's Travel Agency 

Setting: Modern day, Paris, Taj Mahal (Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India), Hawaii, and New York

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Book Blurb: "Fanny and Amy Abel, the dynamic mother-and-daughter owners of a NYC travel agency, have just booked their biggest trip yet. But with danger in the air, the itinerary may include murder...

Paisley MacGregor, a maid to the rich, made a dying request to send all of her wealthy employers on a first-class wake to spread her ashes around the world. Amy has her suspicions about these “mourners,” especially when one has a life-threatening “accident” at the first stop in Paris. And when a mysterious American stranger tagging along with the group has his ticket punched in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, Amy knows she may have a killer on her tour.

Who was this stranger, and what’s the connection to someone in her group? Digging for clues while continuing on with the trip is a lot for Amy to manage, especially when another mourner has a possibly fatal encounter with a Hawaiian volcano. Back in the States, Fanny and Amy start to piece together a secret worth killing for, but someone is hot on their trail, and ready to send them on a one-way trip—to the morgue!"

Amy Abel is timid and learning to stand up for herself, she is the reasonable, calm influence to balance her nutty mother.  Fanny, Amy's mother, is half frustrating and half funny. She writes a blog (TrippyGirl) for the travel agency, supposedly based on real travel adventures - but it is entirely fiction and a wild travelogue.  Amy's boyfriend, Marcus Alvarez, is the charming rogue who opts for a lie when the truth would do. He gets a little page time, and some of it is humorous. Amy's friend, Peter Borg, owns his own agency and asks Amy to help with his trips.  So Amy is on this trip for the money to keep her agency alive. Peter is angling for Amy as girlfriend, but I found him too bossy.   Paisley may be dead, but she is still controlling from the grave.

The settings of Paris, Taj Mahal , Hawaii, and New York are fun and a delightful escape during this pandemic to feel like you got some international sights and culture done.

Weaving a murder plot into a whirlwind travel itinerary is a challenge.  It worked well and added to the danger as you traveled with a killer.  Amy is the one seeing more to circumstances and sensing danger when others are quick to dismiss.  The pacing lagged at times, but I didn't feel the spots lasted too long.

The killer confrontation was nicely tense and suspenseful.  Although, the killer wasn't a complete surprise at that point.  The wrap-up secured the financial future of Amy's Travel Agency.  

This is perfect for the armchair traveler and fans of Maddy Hunter's "Passport to Peril" series will find this fun.  There is light humor, particularly with the TrippyGirl blog escapades Fanny makes up.  This book has an original and intriguing plot that lags in a few spots, but ultimately delivers.  I am looking forward to book three: Death on the Patagonian Express.

Rating: Good - A fun read with original plot.

Here is a short video with the author:

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