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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Review - Mums and Mayhem

Today I am reviewing the third in the Magical Bookshop mystery series by Amanda Flowers, author of the An Appleseed Creek Mystery, A Living History Museum Mystery, and India Hayes Mysteries as well.

I have reviewed the prior books in series:

1st Flowers and Foul Play (click here)

2nd Death and Daisies (click here)

Guest Post (Dec 2016) (click here)

Guest Post (April 2016) (click here)

Read on to find out how well the third book in the series does.

Author: Amanda Flower

Copyright: Aug 2020 (Crooked Lane Books) 327 pgs

Series: 3rd in A Magic Garden Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery

Main Characters: Fiona Knox, recently relocated to Scotland

Setting: Modern day, Duncreigan Scotland

Obtained Through: Library

Book Blurb: "World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan.  Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi's birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert's intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona's father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized. 

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father's name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose--the source of the garden's magic--from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she's grown unless she's able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth--fast."

Fiona is struggling with the magic garden dying, her parents visiting, her sister Isla hiding her boyfriend from said parents, and parents not wanting to discuss a major issue.  Additionally she is trying to get her fledgling business viable.  Chief Inspector Neil Craig is the romantic interest and I keep wishing to have him more of a sense of him. Spoiled and pampered Isla is Fiona's sister who is starry eyed in love and is waiting to the perfect moment to tell her parents she isn't going back to the States.  The notable animals included a mischievous blue-eyed fox that Fiona believes (somehow, someway) is her godfather Ian, a cat who adopted Fiona named Ivanhoe, and Hamish's companion red squirrel, Duncan, that are additional magical touches.

Duncreigan and the nearby town, Aberdeenshire, are charming and picturesque, adding atmospheric and delightful Scottish touches.  Duncreigan is isolated and can be scary for Fiona there by herself.  Aberdeenshire is where the murder takes place and all the sleuthing.   These are perfect for a cozy mystery.

There is a lot going on and Fiona's father being implicated makes even more complicated.  The murderer is murky from the start with several suspects.  This kept my interest to find out more page after page.

The killer reveal has its tense moments that I like.  I must say that I only briefly considered this character as the killer and I didn't have the full motive worked out, so kudos there. The wrap up tied up loose ends and gave boyfriends and the folks a chance to get to know each other.  Well done.

This was a little different in that I felt that the magical garden, the magical animals, and Hamish were all back-burnered.  There was only a few scenes with Hamish and Duncan, and the garden seems to take a back seat to the floral shop in town now.  Which is inevitable for Fiona to have murders to investigate.  But I felt like some of the magic was toned down. This was a cozy mystery stable with the small town populated by interesting people, a romance building, a solid murder mystery, a few splashes of magic, and some humorous parts.  This is perfect for a relaxing mystery to read on the weekend, at the beach, or by the fire.

Excellent - Enjoyed it! Solid cozy mystery novel. 

Here is a video of the author discussing this book:

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sherry fundin said...

i love mysteries and tend to gravitate to the more thriller, suspense, and dark side. sometimes a cozy fits the bill
sherry @ fundinmental

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