Release Date: Dec 31, 2019
Series: Victoria Square Mystery
Publisher: Penguin Group
Katie Bonner is very busy managing Artisan Alley, a former warehouse that is a part of Victoria Square, which houses a wide variety of artists and other merchants selling their wares. She also reopened a tea house in Victoria Square while trying to find time to be with her boyfriend, pizzeria owner Andy Rust. The mostly conservative merchants in Victoria Square aren’t happy to learn that newcomer Paul Fenton has plans to open a tattoo shop in the square. When Paul’s brother dies under suspicious circumstances, Katie’s good friend, former Detective Ray Davenport, becomes the top suspect. Katie feels she owes it to Ray to put all her business and personal issues aside to prove his innocence.
This is the sixth book in the Victoria Square series and I have read most of them. I love the premise and the setting and the books have interesting plots. For readers new to the series, there is a helpful “Cast of Characters” at the beginning of the book. Returning readers will see that Katie has become much more independent and positive which makes the books even more fun to read. Katie is a loyal friend and excellent amateur investigator. I like the friendships she has made in Artisans Alley and how the people there have come to rely on her management skills. Katie has come a long way since the series debut and has become a character I like a lot.
I enjoyed reading about Katie’s investigation. This book is a quick, easy read, but the plot is still engaging and I was surprised when all the facts about the murder and the motive come out in the end. In addition to the cases Katie investigates, her personal life plays a large role in this series. That is especially true in this installment. Ordinarily, I would love the mixture of romance and sleuthing. However, I really don’t care for Katie’s boyfriend Andy. He treats her better in this book than he does in the earlier books, but he usually comes across as self-centered to me. This makes some of the scenes between the two of them hard for me to take. On the other hand, Katie has an abundance of chemistry with Ray. They have remained “just friends”, but there are sparks as well as mutual respect there. My hope is that sometime soon, Katie realizes this, too! If Katie’s love life is going to continue to be a major part of future books, a romance I can get behind will make this a more enjoyable series for me.