I read Julianna Deering's book Rules of Murder at the very end of last year. I enjoyed it a lot, though I didn't absolutely love it like most people seemed to. There were a few things about it that didn't quite click with me, though I can't really explain why. Still, I was excited to pick up the second book in the Drew Farthering series: Death by the Book.
First of all, can I just mention how awesome these covers are, in their vintagey, coordinating goodness? They look so neat next to each other on the shelf. :)
I actually enjoyed Death by the Book a lot more than the first book! The beginning was a little slow (which is ironic because it opens with the first murder), but once I was drawn in, I flew through this book. I really liked the unusual mystery: several murders with apparently nothing in common but the fact that each victim has a hatpin pinned to their chest along with a mysterious message. (The messages turn out to be literary, which was a neat touch, I think.) I really had no idea how the mystery would be resolved until about fifty pages from the end, and then suddenly I had a sneaking suspicion. I rarely, if ever, guess the correct suspect, and my hunch this time seemed even more far-fetched than usual. But, amazingly, I was right! I'm still in shock. :)
As with the first book, I love the setting of 1930s England. I like Drew and Madeline's romance, though I did get a little frustrated with Madeline's inability to make a decision in this book. I loved the addition of her aunt Ruth. I've heard several people compare her with Violet (Maggie Smith) from Downton Abbey, and I think that comparison is fair...though Ruth seems to be a milder version. :) I do have to admit that I don't feel really emotionally connected to the characters, though. That's generally a big deal to me, but with mysteries I don't mind as much because I'm there mostly for the mystery. If I do happen to connect with the characters, then great. But it's not as much of a deal-breaker for me in mysteries as it is with other stories.
I also like how the author isn't preachy at all, but subtlety weaves Christianity into the plot. And considering that this is Christian fiction, but also a detective story, I'm pretty impressed that the author doesn't shy away from murders...multiple ones, in fact.
Aside from Madeline's indecisiveness and the fact that I sometimes had trouble keeping track of the many people connected to the victims, I was pleased with Death by the Book. I'm glad that this second book seemed to improve on the first one, and I can't wait to read the third book, which comes out in July! I really recommend these books to anyone who loves a good detective story, especially one reminiscent of golden age murder mysteries.
*Note: I received a copy of this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*
After the recent string of murders that he helped to solve, Drew Farthering would like nothing more than to enjoy some peaceful, quiet days while he tries to convince Miss Madeline Parker to accept his marriage proposal. Unfortunately, things are not that easy. Once again, he finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation that gets closer and closer to home with each new body that's discovered. Will he solve the case before it's too late?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. It kept me guessing right up until the very end.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for posting an honest review.
Go back to the summer of 1932 to follow Drew Farthering around his small English village where a string of murders need to be solved!
If a murder mystery can be cheery, this one most certainly is! If you're a reader you'll enjoy the style of this book as well as the way Deering ties in references to classic pieces of literature.
Drew Farthering is a very likeable character who is accompanied by several other quirky characters who are good for a few laughs. Take Mr. Llewellyn for example - an older man who flies around the village on his new bicycle and adores talking to anyone about anything especially the American war between the states!
Be "warned" Deering didn't leave out the romance. Drew finds himself trying to convince Madeline Parker to marry him, but not without the interference of her Aunt Ruth who has come to convince Madeline to come back to America. Thankfully the romance remains in check thanks to dear Aunt Ruth!
All in all, you must pick up a copy of this book! I'm already looking forward to reading it again (something I RARELY do with fiction) to see what kind of clues I missed the first time around.
This book is the sequel to Rules of Murder, the 1st in the Drew Farthering Mystery series. I read that book awhile back and really enjoyed it as well!
I am a HUGE fan of British mysteries. :) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, etc. are all authors I really enjoy, and I love that Julianna Deering is a modern writer who writes in the style of the mystery Greats mentioned above....in fact, as her stories are set during the time period that the above authors were writing, the characters in Deering's stories are also huge fans of their work and can't wait for the newest Dorothy Sayers to be printed. :) I love this time period in British writing....I'm not really sure what it is about it, but I love the settings, the styles and etiquette, and the humorous writing styles many authors used. Julianna Deering's books fit very well into that period, even though she IS writing these books now and not 100 years ago.
This book picks up where Rules of Murder left off. Drew Farthering lost his mother and stepfather in the previous book, but met with the lovely Madeline Parker while trying to solve the case surrounding their deaths. He had hoped to be announcing their engagement by now, but the pretty American girl isn't so sure she's ready to take that step with this young Englishman/amateur detective. Then when her Aunt Ruth arrives from America determined to keep the two apart and return her niece to America, Drew has his hands full trying to win over both the aunt and niece at the same time he's trying to solve a string of mysterious murders. The victims were all found with odd notes pinned to them with elegant victorian-style hat-pins that make the murders even more confusing. And each death is progressively closer and closer to Farthering Place, Drew's home. Are the murders somehow connected with him? Will he or someone he loves be the next victim? And at the end of it all, Drew's faith and trust in Christ gives him the strength he needs to forgive the murderer, even when his own life may be in danger.
This book is one of those mysteries that keeps you guessing up until the end....you feel like you know all along "who dunnit" but the author uses clever plot twists and clues to keep you in the dark. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading book 3 in the series! :)
I was given a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.
Drew Farthering seems to be involved in another case of intrigue and murder. A trip to his solicitors office find's the affable young man face to face with the body of the legal aide.
Detective Birdsong none too pleased to have the amateur detective on board, also appreciates that Drew may actually be useful. Ensuring that he is informed of all ideas and thoughts the young man may have, the investigation begins.
Useful (to have on board) especially as the murder made a statement by stabbing the victim with a hatpin to which a cryptic note was attached. Both men start to decipher the message when another body turns up - this time publicly on a golf course.
As far as anyone is concerned there is no connection between the men, or is there?
Meanwhile back at Fathering Place, Drew's hopefully to be fiance Madeline, is entertaining Miss. Jansen; Madeline's aunt from America. She's not keen on the 'silver-tongued' gentleman and is looking out for her nieces' honor. Is this Drew a suitable match? Having a few murders on his doorstep (one quite literally) isn't shedding a good light on him.
Even though the police make an arrest, Drew is not convinced that they have the right person. He needs to make certain of one thing - who ordered a book on crimes and didn't pick it up?
Set in the 1930s, this murder mystery has all the feel of the an Agatha Christie classic. It's characters are well thought out - from the dashing lead to the formidable aunt. There are no heroics, just a captivating thriller that slowly but beautifully unravels to its surprising ending.
Deering's whodunit is consuming and riveting. The touches of humour, candour and insight into the human psyche are subtle, thought-provoking and brilliant. The author has created characters and storylines that are sure to become classics. A highly recommended read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique.