So dear reader, Julianna Deering is back again with another installment in the "Drew Farthering Mysteries"! This book "Murder at the Mikado" is the third volume in this series and quite lives up to all the hype I gave the first book when I reviewed it last summer. Finally getting to sit down and read this book was something of a monumental effort but once I was settled and dug into the book it fairly rolled along and I quite enjoyed it over the course of an afternoon!
Drew and Madeline are now engaged and are fast approaching their wedding date when in whirls a past flame of Drew's. Actress Fleur Landis may be married with a child now but that's no damper to her personal dramatics as she is accused of murdering the lead actor- and her former lover- from her old troupe! When Fleur and her husband Landis, Drew's new business manager comes begging for help Drew- who never wished to see Fleur again- relents and takes on the case.
The case progresses though not all is what it seems. Not all is okay at home either as Madeline begins to feel the pressures of their impending marriage set under the specter of charming bombshell Fleur. Soon enough the chase quickens and as more bodies start dropping the hunt for the killer is in full force! But what goes on behind the scenes and behind the public eye is the most important- for both the case and for Drew and Madeline!
So as I said at the beginning I really enjoyed this book! I grew up on mystery novels but as I got older that genre really dropped from my rotation, partially because I thought I'd grown too old for them and partially because I wasn't finding that genre written in Christian fiction. I am ever so glad that that is changing now with Deering's "Drew Fathering Mysteries"!
In particular I appreciated that the book is well paced and written, and also that the mystery is well concealed until the end- I may have had my suspicions as to who the guilty party was but right up until the end Deering held all her cards tightly! Also, I really liked how this read as straight up clean cut mystery. The mentions of God or spiritual themes are hard to come by in this book but I didn't feel like that detracted from the character or story being told. It has been previously well established where Drew and Madeline are with God and I didn't think it needed to be re-addressed with club-like agility. (But that's just me!) If you are looking for something super-spiritually laced look elsewhere because this is nearly pure mystery/adventure! Additionally, I appreciated that some of the elements present in the first book, like social drinking, were dropped from this installment. While they may be period appropriate, and may be useful tools in characterizing the baddie, fiend, and rogue in a novel I don't find them appropriate for the hero of a Christian novel and I was glad to see them gone!
Something that I loved to see in this book was the full attention that Deering gave to working in references to Gilbert and Sullivan's works. The title of the book comes from Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" as this is one of the two plays that the theater troupe is preforming when the murder takes place. Personally, though I have not listened to all of their works I have a great fondness for The Pirates of Penzance and was charmed to find bits of it scattered throughout the book!
All in all I have no complaints about this lovely period mystery novel that Julianna Deering has produced and I am happy to recommend it to all of you!
Final rating: 5
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and opinion of the product.
Drew Farthering and Madeline Parker are looking forward to their wedding when their plans are interrupted by a visit from an old flame of Drews, and (inevitably) a body. Drew and Nick are persuaded to investigate the murder of a local actor, which annoys Madeline, because its taking Drew away from the wedding plansand back into the sphere of his previous life.
The mark of a good mystery (at least in my opinion) is that there is a murder early in the plot (and I hope that doesnt sound too macabre), that there are lots of clues around who could be the murderer, and that when the actual culprit is revealed, its both someone I didnt expect, yet painfully obvious. Another murder or two only adds to the story.
Murder at the Mikado scored on all my points. Im enjoying watching the ongoing development of the three main characters, and I appreciate the opportunity to revist Winchester, my favourite English town, through the eyes of Drew, Madeline and Nick. I had an early idea who the culprit might be, but soon found out I was dead wrong.
This is the third book in Juliana Dearings Drew Furthering series, and its just as good as the others, Rules of Murder and Death by the Book. Perfect for those who enjoy old-fashioned British murder mysteries by the likes of Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer.
Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
I found the beginning of this book to move very slowly. It took well over 1/4 of the book, before I felt well acquainted with the many characters introduced in the first half of the book. There were a lot of characters introduced in a short amount of time and I didnt connect with them. As a reader, I need to feel invested and I didnt.
I pushed myself to finish this book, but to be honest, I had a hard time picking the book up day after day. I really wanted to put in on my shelf and walk away. Once I reached the end, I was glad I finished the book. The ending surprised me! I was not expecting it, so that made it worth it.
Julianna Deering in her new book, Murder At The Mikado Book Three in the A Drew Farthering Mystery series published by Bethany House Publishers gives us another adventure with Drew Farthering.
From the Back Cover: When a celebrated Actor Is Found Murdered In His Dressing Room, all signs point to Drews old flame. But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and this quickly becomes his Most puzzling case Yet.
Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. Shes married now, no longer an actressbut the lead actor in her former troupes production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the polices number one suspect.
Drew would rather focus on his fiance, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he cant leave Fleur and her family in the lurcheven if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.
Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madelines relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?
I think the great actor, William Powell, would make a terrific Drew Farthering. Not sure whom I would cast for Madeline but I have time I suppose. I seem to enjoy more a mystery that is set in the world of plays or in this case operettas. This one has it all and then some. Actors, back stage treachery, deceit, betrayal and, of course, murder. Someone murdered the lead actor in The Mikado and the police are blaming Fleur, an old flame of Drew. Murder At The Mikado progresses at a nice, steady pace as Drew sets off to find out who the murderer really is with the help of his friends before the body count rises. Murder At The Mikado is a page-turner, action, suspense thriller. Drew and his friends lives are in danger as they try to sort out the lies and deceptions and identify the killer before he kills them. Dont start this book late at night because it will be very difficult to put it down. I recommend this book highly and am greatly looking forward to the next book in this excellent series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
When I read the first book in the series I was hooked and I have been eagerly anticipating each of the succeeding books.
When reading a Julianna Deering book I am reminded of Audrey Hepburn's recurring comment in Paris When It Sizzles about a switch on a switch on a switch. That is exactly what happens in each book, and especially Murder At The Mikado. Just when you think you have it all figured out here comes an alibi or an opposing clue. Julianna Deering is a master at leading the reader's mind in one direction and making you think you are pretty clever, then wham! A switch. I am usually fairly good at figuring out who-done-it in mystery stories, too many Agatha Christie's I suppose, but in the three Drew Farthering mysteries I have only half guessed the murderer once.
One of the things I like best about this series is the atmosphere. I love historical novels that sweep you away into that time period, ones that leave you totally immersed. Each of the books features a murder in a different setting and I have to say that I really enjoyed Murder At The Mikado's setting of a theater.
Another thing I have noticed is that Julianna Deering doesn't always shy away from difficult subjects. While they are never really forefront of the story, instead adding to the mystery, but they make the characters more real to the reader. Even the main characters aren't perfect, each has made and even still make mistakes, they have their own insecurities and fears. In short, they are flawed as people truly are.
Murder At The Mikado is a wonderful addition to a great series and I am secretly hoping that it will either be continued or possibly be a spin-off series with the same characters.
Don't miss any of the books in this wonderful Christian period-set mystery series!
(I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)