Kylie Logan, author of the Button Box mysteries, and, as Casey Daniels, author of the Pepper Martin ones,launches the League of Literary Ladies series with Mayhem at the Orient Express. In an homage to Agatha Christie, the book is set on South Bass Island in Lake Erie in the middle of a snowstorm that strands the detectives and suspects together.
And, this series has four amateur detectives, although Bea Cartwright is the narrator. Three of the women came together unwillingly. After they showed up one too many times in Alvin Littlejohn's court, arguing over petty matters, the court magistrate sentenced them to a book discussion group at the local public library. They had to show up every Monday night for a year. When Bea, Chandra Morrisey and Kate White appeared at the library, one other woman showed up, Luella Zak. Luella was the only one actually there to read the book, so the second meeting didn't start off much better than the first. Who would think it would end in murder?
When the four women reported to Peter Chan's restaurant, The Orient Express, they found him dead behind his counter. Once the police showed up, the women were free to gather at Bea's new Bed and Breakfast. And, as the snow accumulated, every suspect on the island showed up at Bea's. When her generator kept the place open, even a police officer showed up. It wasn't long before the women, who had selected Murder on the Orient Express as their first book, found themselves in the middle of an Agatha Christie story. While the electricity remained off and the ferry operator was stranded at the Bed-and-Breakfast, there was a murderer trapped on the island. And, Bea and her new friends thought that murderer might be right there at Bea's.
I have high hopes for this series. I'd like to see more local color with a few more details about South Bass Island itself and the town of Put-in-Bay. And, this mystery was a little drawn out. But, the characters are delightful, and Kylie Logan leaves the reader wanting to know about all of them, especially Bea herself. Bea has some secrets in her life. Although a little was revealed in this book, there are definitely more stories from her past. Mayhem at the Orient Express actually doesn't reveal much about the new B&B owner. And, I'm sure Logan did that on purpose to drive readers back to learn more about Bea.
If you're looking for a tribute to Agatha Christie, a traditional mystery set in the middle of a snowstorm in the middle of the lake, Mayhem at the Orient Express should be a delightful escape from the summer heat.
Mayhem at the Orient Express by Kylie Logan. Berkley Prime Crime. 2013. ISBN 9780425257753 (paperback), 297p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.