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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

A Murder of Magpies

A Murder of Magpies - Judith Flanders

This is Judith Flanders' first mystery novel after a string of well-received non-fiction books including The Victorian House and The Victorian City.  I have The Making of Home on my TBR pile but I haven't yet started it so I can't say first hand how enjoyable her non-fiction writing is yet, but her fiction was extremely entertaining.


Samantha Clair is an editor for a publishing firm in London, where her purview is "women's fiction".  Honestly, I liked reading about her job more than I enjoyed the mystery.  Both were good, but the author's wit and dry humor really shine when Sam is in the office and interacting with her assistant Miranda.


The writing is spare and blunt and it works really well.  If it ever faltered it was in the build-up to Sam and Jake getting personal.  One flirtatious voice mail was about the sum total of any "wooing".  There are some out there who won't like this and call it completely un-realistic, but I know relationships that have started just like this and I appreciated that the author chose a rather no-nonsense approach to the relationship instead of the "romancing" that a lot of people seem to think is required for the sake of realism.  It isn't - it's just more fun to read about.


While I did enjoy reading about Sam at work the most, the mystery was still a good one.  I'll concede that the final scene could be construed as TSTL, but there's room for argument.  Otherwise, the mystery itself was clever and layered and the kind that is solved through research.  I few connections Sam made felt a little forced but otherwise, I enjoyed watching the puzzle come together.


I don't know if this is the first in a series, or a one-off, but I'd certainly welcome more and I'll keep an eye out and hope for further adventures.