Victoria Hamilton's Merry Muffin mysteries are engaging cozy mysteries with an unusual setting, a castle in Autumn Vale, New York. And, Merry Wynter is a courageous widow who inherited Wynter Castle in her late thirties. Now, she's determined to hang onto it. In Death of an English Muffin, she takes a desperate step, one that proves to be fatal for a visitor to the castle.
Merry's best friend, Pish, asked his aunt Lush if she wanted to stay in the castle. He had the thought that Merry could rent rooms to wealthy people, such as Lush, who wanted to stay in a castle. Fortunately for Merry's financial situation, Lush loved Wynter Castle, and brought her four elderly friends from her bridge club for an extended stay. Unfortunately for everyone else, they quarreled, sniped at each other, whined, and Cleta Sanson was just rude to all of Merry's friends and any townspeople she met. No wonder Merry privately called the women the Legion of Horrible Ladies.
As much as Merry wishes the women would leave, she doesn't wish any of them were dead. But, it's no surprise when one of the women is found dead behind a locked door. However, that means it's the third time since Merry moved into the castle that it's been the scene of a murder. Merry can only be patient so long with the hunky sheriff, Virgil Grace. With her instincts, and the local librarian's research skills, they should be able to uncover the secrets all her guests are hiding. Merry's sick and tired of her home, Wynter Castle, serving as a crime scene.
Hamilton assembles a believable cast in her character-driven mysteries. There's Merry, who never knew her extended family, and built her own network of friends to serve as her family, including Pish, Hannah, the local librarian, and Sheriff Grace's mother, Gogi. There's an intriguing troubled teen who is working out her own family issues. There are strong, hard-working interesting townspeople in Autumn Vale. And, of course, there's that handsome sheriff, who has issues of his own.
Death of an English Muffin is another engaging mystery with a fascinating locked-room angle, and an intriguing cast. The book comes with a warning, though. Don't read this on an empty stomach because Merry's muffins and other dishes are as tempting as a good mystery.
Victoria Hamilton's website is www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
Death of an English Muffin by Victoria Hamilton. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425258859 (paperback), 293p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.