Release Date: May 26, 2020
Series: Murder She Wrote
Publisher: Penguin Group
With a record setting blizzard on the way to Cabot Cove, author and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher and Dr. Seth Hazlett accompany their friend Sheriff Mort Metzer to an abandoned factory. A man has been found dead in his car and Mort is on the case. While he launches an investigation, Jessica returns to hunker down during the snowstorm at the Hill House hotel where she has been staying while her home is under construction. There are several other guests at the hotel who are there for a wedding, but the bride and groom have not yet arrived. Jessica wonders if their disappearance is related to the dead man at the factory and calls PI Harry McGraw to do some research for her. It soon becomes clear more than one of the guests are keeping secrets, and Jessica may be stranded at the hotel with a killer.
I was a casual viewer of the television show on which this series is based and am a long time reader of the Murder She Wrote books. The last few books have been written by a different author and there is a difference in Jon Land’s books. The teasing banter between Jessica, Seth, and Mort has become more sarcastic and that takes getting used to. However, I love that Land has been including PI Harry McGraw to the books. I enjoyed this character in the TV shows and Land captures his voice perfectly. Here, the author’s talent for amusing, but sarcastic, dialogue fits the character. I am very familiar with the main characters of the book, but I still think it can be enjoyed by new readers.
With the plot dealing with snowbound guests being killed one-by-one, the book definitely has the vibe of an Agatha Christie mystery. Many of the wedding guests have secrets and act suspiciously, so there are plenty of suspects and red herrings to keep you guessing about the true identity of the murderer. With all roads closed and eventually phone service unavailable, Jessica is left in the hotel on her own to gather and put together the clues. This showcases Jessica’s intelligence and detective skills in solving real life murders, not just creating stories for her novels. Before it’s all over, there is a fairly high body count for a cozy. However, there is no graphic violence, and I was entertained throughout the book. I really enjoyed the high level of suspense that continues right up until the very satisfying ending. I enjoyed spending some time in Cabot Cove, Maine and look forward to my next “visit” with Jessica.