Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Marriage, Monsters-in-Law, and Murder by Sara Rosett

Sara Rosett's latest Ellie Avery mystery, Marriage, Monsters-in-Law, and Murder, is a family-oriented, engaging mystery with an authentic, likable amateur sleuth. I've always admired Rosett's skill in putting family first in the mysteries, and this one is all about family.

Mitch and Ellie Avery are heading to Camden Island, Georgia with their two children, and they're all looking forward to the trip. Mitch's younger sister, Summer, is getting married to a lawyer, a man everyone likes. But, Brian comes with baggage, two mothers who don't get along, his mother, Yvonne, and his step-mother, Patricia. Summer made all the wedding arrangements, but she's finally ready to turn final details over to Ellie, keeping the "monsters-in-law" separate and out of Summer's hair as much as possible.

But, Ellie and Summer have bigger problems. Brian's best man brings Brian's ex-girlfriend as his plus-one, a woman who went ballistic when their relationship ended. Naturally, suspicion turns to her when Summer has two disturbing "accidents". But, when a death occurs, Ellie knows it's more than a nasty prank. Now, Ellie, a skillful organizer, has to organize all the events mentally as she tries to find a killer before the wedding is ruined.

In every Rosett mystery, there is a great awareness of the murder victim. That person is not forgotten. The bride, Summer, says when she thinks of the victim, of what the family is going to have to deal with, it makes all the wedding decisions seem "rather pathetic". And, Rosett always manages to include the family. Mitch and Ellie are a couple, and they're parents. They're always aware of their children, their feelings. They take care of each other. Although Ellie is the primary sleuth, Mitch values her and her knowledge and skills. It's refreshing in a mystery to see a caring couple. And, it's refreshing to see an amateur sleuth who doesn't just forget about her primary concern while investigating. She still has to take care of her family.

Ellie Avery is probably one of the most likable, relatable sleuths in a character-driven series. She's a wife and mother first, a professional organizer who uses her skills to organize her ideas about murder. Marriage, Monsters-in-Law, and Murder is a mystery that's actually heartwarming at times. And, for mystery fans, it's an enjoyable, surprising puzzle.

Sara Rosett's website is www.sararosett.com

Marriage, Monsters-in-Law, and Murder by Sara Rosett. Kensington Books. 2016. ISBN 9781617731471 (hardcover), 249p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

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