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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.

Berried Alive (Manor House Mystery #6)

Berried Alive  - Kate Kingsbury

Note to self for future re-reads: don't re-read a whole series in one go; it'd doubly hard to write decent reviews about the same series one after the other.  Not to mention all the details of the books start running together.


Red-headed, American GI's are dying.  Poisoned after spending the evening at the pub.  Major Earl Monroe and the rest on the base aren't getting anywhere with the investigation (the village strongly resents the American presence - except the girls of course!) so he asks Lady Liz to investigate. Well, ask questions.


By this point in the series, the love-that-can't-be is coming to a boiling point.  I may have mentioned this before, but Ms. Kingsbury is quite adept at setting up a romantic moment without falling back on the physical.  Even though I generally prefer a bit of heat with my romance, I will admit that the dialog between Earl and Elizabeth is quite effective and easy to get swept up in.


The book continues with the multiple POV's of several of the characters; Rita Crumm and the gang is still providing ludicrous comic relief and Polly experiences the adage "life isn't fair" firsthand, and that wanting something doesn't make it so.  The tension of wartime is slightly more prevalent here; as Elizabeth becomes more attached to Earl, the author lets her fear and anxiety for his safe return from missions creep into the story more and more.  Propriety is becoming less and less important to Lady Elizabeth as she realises not only that times are rapidly changing, but that there are more important things than one's reputation or duty to a quickly disappearing way of life.


Plotwise, there's a bit at the beginning that I found clunky and felt should have been caught by a good editor.  Earl and Elizabeth are discussing the deaths, that all 4 of the GI's had red hair, that they all came from the pub the night they died. They agree it's too much of a coincidence, but then start discussing the possibilities of food poisoning as if it's a viable explanation.  It felt weak but it was just a paragraph so I'll not hold on to it too tightly.


The rest of the plot though, was probably the cleverest so far in the series.  Even as a re-read I had completely forgotten who the culprit was and didn't figure it out early. It was also one of the few times where Lady Elizabeth didn't go haring off and doing something that made her TSTL.


The book ends on a bit of an unexpected twist for first time readers, but I'll not say more than that - I can't without spoilers.