Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Marriage & Murder (Rosewood Place #3), by Ruby Blaylock

Ruby Blaylock, September 2019

Annie Richards is continuing the renovation and updating of her beautiful Rosewood Place inn. The latest addition to the amenities is the renovation of the barn into an events location--and the first such event will be her own mother, Bessie's reception following her wedding to Emmett Barnes, the newly-retired local Chief of Police.

But Bessie's friends include the Wimpole sisters, Delilah and Della, and Emmett's include Earl Munsey, Delilah's ex-husband, now married to Darlene. Earl and Emmett are fishing buddies from way back, but Earl is a drinker and a gambler and a bit crude, so Annie is not the only one who has difficulty seeing how the two men,so different, have remained friends.

That Delilah hates her ex-husband and her sister Della seems to hate him even more than she does, doesn't make the rehearsal dinner, a few days before the wedding, any easier. Then Earl suddenly has what appears to be a heart attack, and dies, during the dinner. Except it's not a heart attack; he was poisoned, with arsenic.

Annie doesn't want Rosewood Place getting a reputation as a place where guests die. Delilah, Della, and Darlene are each in their different ways difficult women. They've got one, seemingly random, paying guest, Charity Hicks, staying at the inn because Bessie hates to turn anyone away, even when she, Annie, Annie's son Devon, and Annie's boyfriend and Rosewood Place handyman, Rory Jenkins, are all busy with the wedding preparations.

Then Darlene's son from a previous marriage, Scott, turns up, even though he has barely spoken to his mother since she married Earl.

It doesn't help, of course, that everyone is keeping secrets. Even the harmless secrets muddy the waters!

We get to know all the regular characters better, Annie and Rory's relationship progresses, and most of the characters, even the quickly deceased Earl, prove to be more complicated than they appear at first sight. This is an enjoyable cozy mystery, and, in a feature I always approve of, Annie refrains from doing anything willfully and obviously dangerous just tor raise the excitement level.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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