Something's fishy in the Wrensdale Arcade, a group of shops in the Berkshires designed as an old English village. And, Talia Marby is just the person to discover why so many people disliked Phil Turnbull, and which of them hated him enough to kill him. Fillet of Murder is the perfect book to launch Linda Reilly's new Deep Fried mystery series.
Talia worked for Bea and Howie Lambert in Lambert's Fish & Chips when she was in high school. Now that she's broken up with her boyfriend, left her job, and moved into her grandmother's house, she's back to help them out while Howie's in the hospital. And, Bea can certainly use the support. She appears to be the only shop owner who won't sign Turnbull's petition to keep a comic book shop out of the arcade. Turnbull harasses her so much that she finally threatens to boil him in oil. Unfortunately, when Talia and Bea try to meet him at his lighting shop the next day, they discover his body. Between the threat and the weapon, Bea is number one on the suspect list.
At times, Bea is too upset to work, and the shop's part-time assistant, Whitnee, seems to have her own problems with her boyfriend, school, and her family life. So, Talia steps up to keep the shop running smoothly while also asking questions of the other shop owners. And, everyone seems to have secrets involving Turnbull. Talia finds herself dealing with a fine kettle of fish.
Reilly's main ingredient is an engaging amateur sleuth in the perfect set-up to a series. There's the attractive little tourist area, a quirky set of characters, the introduction of a future love interest. And, of course, there's all that talk of wonderful fish and chips (with malt vinegar), and recipes for fried food. She blends all those ingredients into a charming mystery with a few red herrings along the way. Fillet of Murder may surprise even the most astute mystery reader.
Linda Reilly's website is www.lindasreilly.com
Fillet of Murder by Linda Reilly. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425274132 (paperback), 295p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.