The Scarlet Wench is the third of the modern day “cosy crime” mysteries starring Nora Tierney. Nora is a young American writer and single mother living in England. She has recently moved to the Lake District and is helping out at her illustrator and friend Simon Ramsey’s small hotel. When a traveling theatre troupe arrives to stage Noel Coward’s play “Blithe Spirit” a series of pranks raises nosy Nora’s suspicions. Particularly as they seem to mirror the murderous actions in the play.
But she’s not the only one trying to solve the mystery, the only lodge guest not in the cast: Detective Inspector Declan Barnes, gets dragged in too. Although he’s ostensibly there for a hiking trip he’s really there to see if the sparks he and Nora felt on there last meeting could be fanned into the flames of love.
I usually enjoy an occasional ‘cozy’ but I have to admit I only got half way through this before giving up on it. Although the setting is modern the book is written in traditional English mystery style with a cast of characters and room layouts. That’s fine with me but sadly this seemed to be extended to the characters, or more accurately caricatures. Nora seemed more like a woman from a cheap romance novel and none of the other characters were any better. The author jumped about from one perspective so as to tell us all their inner thoughts, but failed to endear them to me.
Graff won an award for Best British Cozy with the book that introduces Nora, THE BLUE Virgin, so maybe I’m missing something. Or maybe she’s resting on her laurels since then and just churning them out.
Definitely not my cup of tea! 2 bites