First Line: A blackbird announced my late arrival.
Toxic mold in her cottage has forced Julia Lanchester into one of the Earl of Fotheringill's many guest rooms. Although she gets along with the earl just fine, she finds his other house guests to be extremely annoying. Julia isn't complaining; however, because this gets her out of the house and off to work earlier so she can take care of her excess of ideas for area tourism. But when one of the earl's other guests is found murdered, Julia can't help conducting a little investigation of her own.
Marty Wingate has a writing style that draws you right into her story. She also has a winning main character in Julia. She's smart, she's funny, and when she's not in a romantic kerfluffle with Michael, she's so full of ideas for promoting her area as a prime tourist destination that I'm fascinated with her work. There's also touches of humor sprinkled throughout that certainly keeps readers laughing. I particularly enjoyed the running joke that has Julia trying to guess what her sister is going to name Julia's newest niece.
It doesn't hurt Julia's investigative skills to have a famous father who has a popular show on BBC television. Sometimes the mere mention of his name can get things moving. One thing to beware, however, is the fact that Julia is still pretty much a one-woman show in this series, and I hope the author fleshes out the supporting cast more. No matter how much I like Julia, she needs good backup, and the potential is there.
How does the mystery fare in Empty Nest? Very, very well. Wingate managed to pull the wool over my eyes, which is always welcome. There is a prime crop of suspects in this tale that makes it a bit more difficult to narrow the list down to just one. This is a very enjoyable cozy series, and I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of adventure Julia has next.
Empty Nest by Marty Wingate
Random House Alibi © 2015
eBook, 298 pages
Cozy Mystery, #2 Birds of a Feather mystery
Source: Net Galley