An English manor home, an unsolved mystery, too many suspects to count… It’s the perfect holiday for romance novelist Sara Medlar.
After solving two murder cases in their hometown of Lachlan, Florida, Sara Medlar, her niece Kate and their friend Jack need a change of scenery. Sara arranges for them to visit an old friend of hers in England. Upon arrival at Oxley Manor, a centuries-old estate that has been converted to a luxury hotel, Kate and Jack quickly realize that Sara is up to something. They learn that Sara has also invited a number of others to join them at Oxley.
When everyone assembles, Sara lets them know why they are there. Decades earlier, two people ran off together from Oxley and haven’t been heard from since—and Sara wants to solve the case. As the people who were there the night the two went missing, the guests find themselves cast in a live mystery-theater event.
In reenacting the events of that night, it becomes clear that everyone has something to hide and no one is safe, especially when the discovery of a body makes it clear that at least one of the people who disappeared was murdered.
Sara, Jack and Kate are once again at the heart of a mysterious case that only they are able to solve. But someone is willing to continue to kill to keep the truth about Oxley Manor buried, and none of the guests are safe.
New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux has crafted another irresistible case in her bestselling Medlar Mystery series.
My Review | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Back in my teens and twenties, I read and loved many of Jude Deveraux’s historical romances. How excited was I to see that she now has a current-day mystery series. Not cute or kitschy, A Forgotten Murder is a sublimely classic who-done-it full of a cast of potential murderers, plenty of red herrings, and a beautiful English estate setting.
Favorite character: Jack Wyatt
He is charismatic and delightfully mischievous, not to mention a great romantic lead and mystery clue-solver. He appears to have it all, but he struggles with a father and a past that have left invisible scars. He routinely champions unnoticeable people because he does notice them, and he does care.
What I Loved
I loved the setting – a grand old English estate turned into an Inn. The romantic in me adores this perfect backdrop for the story. A beautiful house and a group of larger than life characters are both fun and intriguing, much like a game of Clue. And the reveal, a play reconstructing the events the night the murder happened, suits the setting just perfectly.
The cast of characters is all incredibly well-developed. All their insecurities and demons exposed as the mystery unfolds. There are no questions that each could commit a murder. It’s just a matter of who did.
The story within a story aspect keeps the suspense building throughout the novel. Past and present are blended seamlessly to create a wickedly suspenseful read that is witty and mind-blowing. Twisting and turning, at times upon itself, with touches of humor that delighted me.
The story contains a little bit of grit that keeps it from becoming cutesy. I marveled at the creation of the perfect mystery in a package that was not contrived and kitschy. Trying to create a unique series has led to so many different settings and themes among the cozy genre, which eventually makes it harder and harder to believe. But, this series strips the genre down to its core elements and then, from there, builds a full, rich, and uncompromisingly developed story.
What I Wish
I wish that Jude Deveraux had started writing mysteries so much earlier, then I would have been able to spend all these years enjoying them.
To Read or Not to Read
The Medlar mysteries are the quintessential cozy murder mysteries, and if you only read one book in the genre, it should be one from this series. I was able to read and enjoy this novel as a stand-alone novel, though now I plan on going back and reading the other two.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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