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jenn

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.

Grace Against the Clock (Manor House Mysteries, #5)

Grace Against the Clock - Julie Hyzy

Grace Against the Clock is a bit of a locked room mystery.  A party is held in the museum/manor's basement, where there is only one way in and out and Grace herself is manning the door.  One of the hosts is murdered; poisoned while seemingly alone behind the stage curtain and covered in defensive wounds.  But no one hears or sees anything.

 

The author writes a delicate balance: Grace makes the decision to "investigate" which I find a turn off most of the time, but her investigative style involves a lot of research and a few conversations that felt plausible and natural, so it works.  I am at the point now that these characters feel like friends or acquaintances and even Francis and Hillary have their charms now.  Grace's romantic life is a bit chaotic which normally irritates me, but again, the author manages to do what no other has before: swayed my opinion about the romantic interest.

 

I don't know how I didn't see the murderer coming, but I didn't.  Actually, I do kind of know how I missed it and it was very cleverly done.  I was totally fooled.  No TSTL moments either.

 

I'd argue Julie Hyzy is one of today's better cozy writers.  Whenever Ms. Hyzy's next book is announced it always goes immediately on the "to buy" list without any hesitation.  They are solid, incredibly well-crafted mysteries with characters that become more interesting with every book.  Instead of developing character tension over the course of one story, Ms. Hyzy subtly draws it out over the course of the series.  This style requires readers to be a little patient, as the hook is set slowly over the course of a few books, but it pays off in the form of a series of books worth the investment of time.

 

I'll definitely be buying Ms. Hyzy's next book.