It is summertime and the living should be easy. Unfortunately for college librarian India Hayes, this summer is more difficult than usual. For starters, childhood friend Olivia Blocken unexpectedly asks her to be a bridesmaid at her upcoming wedding. This makes the sixth wedding India has participated in and she is not looking forward to wearing the hideous bride’s maid dress or having to deal with the demanding and demeaning mother of the bride.
On top of that, Olivia used to date India’s brother Mark, and he is heartbroken over the upcoming nuptials. Mark is a mathematics professor at the local college, and when Olivia ends up dead as a result of being pushed in the Martin College fountain on her way to talk to Mark, all evidence points to him as the killer.
As India tries to prove her brother did not kill the love of his life, she also has to contend with her loony landlord who lives in the duplex next door; her mother, who is pastor of her church; her very pregnant sister who used to date the current detective that is now heading the murder investigation, and who seems to have taken a liking to India; along with other quirky characters that add additional flavor to this comic mix.
Maid of Murder is Amanda Flower’s debut mystery, and quite a first novel it is. The fast pace keeps the reader engaged, as do the number and variety of people India must interact with at any given time. As a college reference librarian working with the very cute and likeable Bobby, India is placed in a location where there is plenty of action. Flower has developed a number of characters that could be considered too over the top by some, but she handles their quirkiness quite well.
Flower also manages to keep the real murderer undercover until very near the end, providing readers plenty of opportunity to guess who killed Olivia, and why. The author has done a fine job on her first novel.
Cozy lovers will appreciate the quick-witted humor, the likeable main characters, and the building of a structure around family, neighbors, and workplace that could very easily lead to further stories in this budding series. Indeed, the subtitle, An India Hayes Mystery, leads one to suspect we have not seen the last of this fun new heroine.
A special thank you goes to Amanda Flower for providing a complimentary ARC copy of Maid of Murder for our review. If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can click on the image below.