The first book in the series, Bran New Death (click here) and we were fortunate to have interviewed the author, Victoria Hamilton (click here). The second book in the series is out and I looked forward to reading it since I enjoyed the debut book. Be warned, I got into a muffin making craze after reading the first Muffin mystery!
Copyright: July 2014 (Berkley) 304 pgs
Series: 2nd in in Merry Muffin Mystery
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy
Main Characters: Merry Wynter, former Plus size model and stylist, recently inherited a castle
Setting: Modern day, Upstate rural NY (Autumn Vale)
Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest review
Merry Wynter can't afford to keep the castle she inherited, so she is giving a Halloween party and inviting friends from the NY modeling world to get input on the place and get the word out it is for sale. Mr. Cranston claims to be another heir to the castle and property who is at the party and a pain in Merry's life. Before the party is over, somebody is found dead. It is hard to track who was there, since several people slipped in.
Merry Wynter is finding she would like to put down roots in Autumn Vale, but can't find a way to pay for the castle. She is surprisingly finding healing after eight years of mourning for her deceased husband. Shilo, Merry's dear friend is getting a second lease on life in this book. Pish Lincoln, a financier is another good friend and gets the finger of suspicion leveled at him. Sheriff Virgil Grace is the potential love interest that seems distant but interested in Merry. Jack McGill is the easy going realtor who has fallen hard for Shilo. Zeke and Gordy and the local lads who bungle most things they touch while helping around the castle. Cranston, a man who claims to be Uncle Melvyn's long lost grandson and heir to the castle and property is revealed for who he really is.
The castle interior is used to great effect for the party and renovation efforts. The neighboring Ridley Ridge is more economically depressed than Autumn Vale and makes a dreary setting for a few scenes. The plot was involved enough to keep my interest with a few twists. The climax had some good tension and action. The wrap-up dangled a carrot to keep the reader wanting the next installment.
This second book in this new series is a great cozy with varied and interesting characters, nice plot with a few twists, and a good main character who has some bagagge to work through.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.