I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
This series is one of my top cozy favourites and I always look forward to the next one. A Little Night Murder, though - this one was just chock full o' surprises.
Lexie's back! Nora's (the MC) best friend is out of prison early for reasons unexplained and Nora's helping her hide from the press and all the former clients who lost their fortunes when Lexie's partner's embezzlement came to light. Nora is 7 months pregnant and her constant financial worries have reduced her to wearing her sister's old maternity t-shirts sporting such gems as "Let Me Out, It's Dark in Here!" Nora and Mick are trying to prepare for the birth of not only their biological daughter, but for the adoption of Nora's grand-niece whose biological mother is in prison and due the week after Nora. Speaking of biological mothers: Mick's mom is in town and Nora's meeting her for the first time.
Nora's sisters aren't left out of the angst either: Libby is imploding over becoming a grandmother and Emma has reached the pinnacle of unsuitability in her lovers.
Those are just the things mentioned on the front flap. I'm not mentioning anything else because if you enjoy this series, I don't want to take anything away from the surprises awaiting you. Suffice it to say there are more than a fair few.
In the midst of all of this, Lexie's neighbour, an old showgirl has-been is trying to revive her career, claiming she has found an unpublished musical left in her late husband's papers. He was famous for his musicals and everybody is buzzing about this new find. Until the man's daughter is found dead and oddities and absurdities surrounding the production become apparent. Nora's editor has given her an ultimatum: a story about Lexie and her whereabouts, or a story about Jenny's murder.
Generally speaking, this was a wonderful romp of a story and I didn't want to stop reading it once I started. The mystery plotting is always well done, but my investment is 100% in the characters. The sisters and the people surrounding them are all fleshed out characters with realistic lives, if sometimes their names are a little out there. (I went to school with a Binky and Bubba (sister and brother) so I won't say the names are unrealistic.)
My only harumph: Nora's boss/editor is an Aussie and perhaps in an attempt to avoid the cliched Aussie slang terms such as Bonzer!, Fair Dinkum! etc. etc., the author has chosen to skate a bit close to the obscure. The one that sticks out the most is "dinger" - which I had to look up. It's recognised slang for "condom" but my Aussie born-and-bred husband has never heard of it. Perhaps some of my BL Aussie friends are more familiar with it? There were a couple of others as well, but I forgot what they were and I'll never find them again. Also, in a book with no swearing, I snickered over the author's liberal use of "bugger", but I'm assuming she's well aware of the word's meaning and is banking on most of her readers being unaware. I'm choosing to see it as a quiet little rebellion on her part. :)
The mystery is tied up at the end but the characters are left with a shock - not a cliffhanger, but definitely a story to be continued. Which makes me happy, because it means there's another Blackbird Sister adventure on the horizon. Somebody pass me the champagne and a tacky t-shirt.
NB: I've been googling the surprise at the end of this book and personally I think it's a tissue paper dragon based on the holes apparent after a quick search. But such a thing does exist, who knew?