by Catherine Lloyd
Series: Kurland St. Mary Mystery #4
Publication Date: November 29, 2016
It’s harvest time in the village of Kurland St. Mary as Lucy and Robert prepare to take their vows—but a murderer has taken an unseasonable vow of vengeance…
As Miss Lucy Harrington, daughter of the village rector, and Major Sir Robert Kurland plan their nuptials, the major is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever hear wedding bells. He’s seen complex military campaigns that involved less strategy, and he’s finding Lucy’s meddling family maddening.
When the body of Ezekiel Thurrock, the church verger, is discovered crushed by a stone gargoyle that has fallen from the bell tower, the tragic death strikes a somber note and the wedding is delayed. But the evidence suggests this was no accident, and Lucy wonders if bad blood at the village fair had anything to do with the man’s mysterious demise, since there was much bitterness over Ezekiel’s prizewinning vegetables.
As Lucy and Robert uncover long-standing village feuds, the town’s dark secrets begin to take their toll and the couple soon finds they too are in grave danger…
Not quite the slump breaker I was hoping for, but not a bad little mystery either. The novelty the main characters had in the first novel has worn off (reasonably enough) and the author is left with the tried and true: killing off the villagers. From the sounds of this village, they may deserve it.
This book stumbled for me because a great draw is the chemistry and banter between the two MCs and they were kept apart quite a bit and their adventures when they were together lacked that certain something I enjoyed before. A well known, loathsome villager gets what’s coming by the end – which is great! – but there’s this giant hole at the end where we miss out on the reaction of at least one significant character whose life is directly affected by the outcome of events. That felt weird to me; the author couldn’t spare a few more pages to flesh that out?
But there was still a lot I liked about this cozy; I enjoyed it more than most of what I’ve been reading lately. It held my attention and the setting felt like an old friend. Given my general grumpiness lately, I’ll take that and be thankful for it.