Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands
|Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's cozy crime and if that's your bag you're in for a treat. An engaging mystery with appealing characters.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 274||Date: November 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
Melissa Craig should have been getting on with writing her latest mystery novel but she'd been sidetracked into working on the script for a pantomime. It wasn't a traditional panto, but a spoof for the birthday party of a local millionaire, to be held on Halloween. It's got all the hallmarks of a mystery and a pantomime and it looks as though cast and audience are all in for a good time with the rehearsals being held in a luxury hotel. Well, they were until one member of the cast turns up dead in the cellar at the bottom of a steep flight of stairs. What was he doing there and why is the hotel manager acting so strangely?
It's cozy crime and if that's your bag then you're in for a treat. What you get is an engaging mystery and some appealing (or distinctly unappealing) characters. There's not a lot of subtlety in the characterisation, but then you're not reading this because you think it might appear on the Booker longlist. You're reading it for fun. There are elements of pantomime in the story: sometimes you want to shout look behind you! or don't do that! It's not difficult to spot the baddies - some of them are quite heavily signposted - but there are one or two twists in the tale which you probably weren't expecting. There's a good, spooky atmosphere too.
I read it over a couple of days (and over Halloween, strangely enough) and it held my attention well. Some of the characters are a little two-dimensional (the barrowboy millionaire, his new girlfriend and his would-be bride for instance) but accept that this is just good fun and go along for the ride.
The story is set in the Cotswolds and that put me in mind of the Agatha Raisin series by M C Beaton. I thought Murder at the Manor Hotel was a more satisfying read with more depth than some of the stories and I wouldn't be averse to reading another, preferably with all the curtains drawn if it's a dark night.
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands at Amazon.com.
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