Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Check-Out Time: Review

Check-Out Time is the fifth book in Kate Kingsbury's other mystery series featuring the Cecily Sinclair and the Pennyfoot Hotel.  It is also the second book in my "read two books by the same author" entry for the Autumn Semi-Charmed Challenge.  The Pennyfoot Hotel books are set during Edwardian times and Cecily's hotel is the place to be for London aristocrats looking for a little seaside holiday.  Except it also appears to be the place to be if you want to commit murder.  Cecily is as bad as Jessica Fletcher at attracting dead bodies.

In this outing, Sir Richard Malton has taken a nose dive off of his top-floor balcony...and, no, there wasn't a swimming pool below.  The local police would like to call it a simple suicide or at least the result of a drunken binge--but it wasn't just a jump over the edge or a drunken slip.  Sir Richard hopped up on the railing, walked it like a tightrope artist, and then topped the performance with a little jig.  The man was known as a teetotaler who drank milk when he went to the local pub and certainly didn't have acrobatic aspirations.  What could make a middle-aged man do such a daring and deadly thing?

Cecily doesn't trust the local police to get to the bottom of things before her clientele move on to quieter and less-deadly lodgings.  So, she and her right-hand man Baxter set out to discover what really happened.  They'll wind up at a vaudeville-like variety theater before the case is closed (much to Baxter's shock and dismay--madam does not belong there!)--and there will be a last-minute rescue of an unwitting witness before all is well at the Pennyfoot again.

This one wasn't quite as good as the Manor Mystery book I just read (Death Is in the Air).  The story seemed very contrived and I'm not buying the murder method.  I just don't believe it could be done...and certainly not in such a short period and so little contact.  I can't say more without giving it completely away.  The ending is rather nice and the heroics make it a bit exciting (which lifts the book to two star status)--but it's not the best Kingsbury I've read.  I've sampled a couple of her Christmas-themed Pennyfoot books in the days before blogging and found them to be more interesting.  If you're looking to try the series--I'd suggest giving one of those a go.

No comments: