Sunday, July 3, 2016

High Rhymes & Misdemeanors: Mini-Review

High Rhymes & Misdemeanors is the first book in Diana Killian's Poetic Death Mystery series. It features Grace Hollister, an American schoolteacher and literary scholar. Grace is spending her vacation in England's Lake District, following the footsteps of her favorite bad boys of the Romantic period (like Byron, Shelley, and Keats) when she stumbles, quite literally over the body of Peter Fox who is lying face down in a stream with a wound in his head. She's sure that he's dead, but performs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and soon has him sputtering up stream water. He has been coshed over the head and left for dead, but neither of them saw by whom and he doesn't seem to know why.

She helps the handsome antiques dealer back to the Tinker's Dam, the pub where they both are staying. When two tough-looking fellows come into the bar and nearly lose their drinks after seeing Peter alive and well, it soon becomes apparent that Peter, and by extension Grace, have landed in the middle of something sinister. Peter disappears the next morning and Grace is pursued by "Mutt and Jeff" (as Peter had dubbed them), kidnapped, and held for ransom until Peter coughs up the "gewgaws" that the thugs are after. Expect Peter has no idea what they're talking about. And Grace refuses to play damsel in distress and effects her own escape. She tracks down Peter and together they discover that the treasure being sought has something to do with Lord Byron....and someone's willing to kill to get their hands on it. 

This is a fun, light, cozy mystery with plenty of literary references for those with an academic bent. There's lightly-handled romance that doesn't get in the way of the mystery and lots of action. There are also hefty doses of coincidence, but one doesn't mind because the story is good. Not a lot of clues for those who prefer a fair-play mystery, but if you like a good character-driven story, then this one is very good. The relationship between Grace and Peter is interesting and enjoyable. The interactions between the slightly-old-world British scoundrel and the head-strong, "I can take care of myself" Yankee girl makes for a humorous romance. ★★

{I actually finished this on June 30th, but am just now getting my review up. So, this is last book of June.}

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Sounds like a great afternoon read, maybe for the beach! I like mysteries that have a touch of romance.