Hayley Burke manages to juggle multiple personal issues, a new job, and a murder without losing her cool. (Well maybe she loses it a little bit.) I found her to be a protagonist that I would love to meet in person, go to tea with and perhaps discuss Golden Age female authors, since I know she has been brushing up on their wonderful books. I can tell you that my very favorite thing about Haley is this: There is a portrait of Lady Fowling on the stair landing and Haley rarely passes without tossing Lady Fowling a comment or two. She had developed a relationship with her deceased mentor, which I found endearing. In short, I loved this book and if you are a cozy fan, a Golden Age fan or, like me, a fan of both, you will love it too.
The whodunit offers challenges to even savvy mystery fans, and it is nicely complemented by a sweet romance between Hayley and a local professor, with extra intrigue thrown in by the presence of Lady Fowling’s gold-digger nephew. This series debut will delight lovers of literary-themed romance and mystery; the perfect companion, of course, is the nearly eponymous Christie work, but fans of Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry (2014) should also be steered toward Wingate’s latest.
The heroine of this new series from Wingate is a pushover for anyone with more confidence, including her daughter, her boyfriend, the secretary at the library, and the writers. Owing to her lack of knowledge and insecurity, the book feels too long. Fans of Golden Age mysteries would do better to read the authors themselves.
... appealing, if flawed ... Wingate focuses more on setting up the characters and a romance for Hayley than on developing the mystery, making for a somewhat muddled plot. Hopefully, the sequel will better balance the various elements. Fans of British sleuths will appreciate the references to the classics of the genre.