Sunday, July 9, 2017

REVIEW: Death Plays a Part

Death Plays A Part
Author: Vivian Conroy

Guinevere is a costume designer for a London theater company. When the theater closes for renovations, a friend helps her secure a temporary position on Cornisea Island on the Cornish coast cataloging the book collection of Lord Bolingbrooke. When she arrives, she discovers the local historical society is preparing for a re-enactment of an old island legend. Arthur Haydock, who is playing Branok the Cold-Hearted in the re-enactment, is also leading a push to take the castle and surrounding lands from Lord Bolingbrooke and open the island and castle up to the public as a tourist destination. When Haydock is discovered stabbed to death in a locked cell in the dungeons of the castle following a practice for the re-enactment, suspicion falls on Lord Bolingbrooke. Guinevere and Bolingbrooke's son, Oliver, team up together to solve the case before Lord Bolingbrooke is charged with murder.

This was a fun, quick read. The island characters are quirky and interesting. The mystery is well-plotted (despite a few cozy tropes -- slightly bumbling cops who need amateur sleuths to help them solve the case, stereotypical village residents, etc. But what's a cozy without a bit of trope?) with plenty of suspects, twists and turns. The ending was exciting and believable -- not overdone. I always enjoy a good locked-room mystery, and this one fit the bill! The story was a bit light (no in-depth characterization, no gory details about the crime, no hard-core investigation, etc) -- but this is a cozy mystery not a gritty procedural. Cozies are meant to be light, fun reads. Guinevere was a great main character....intelligent, insightful and determined. Her faithful dog, Dolly, added to the story with a bit of comic relief and a dash of doggie intuition. All in all, this was a fun, light summer read -- a perfect short book to read at the beach, on a summer trip, or on a warm afternoon lounging in the sun.

Death Plays A Part is the first book in the Cornish Castle Mystery series. A second book, Rubies In The Roses, will be published in August 2017. I will definitely be reading the second book when it comes out! This was an enjoyable, light-hearted, cozy mystery, and I look forward to reading more by Vivian Conroy. Conroy has written other cozy mystery books including the Lady Alkmene and Country Gift Shop series.

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from HarperCollinsUK via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.**

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