Monday, April 30, 2018

Mrs. Malory & the Lilies that Fester: Review

In Mrs. Malory & the Lilies that Fester (2001), Hazel Holt dishes up a cozy British village mystery featuring that expert on 19th-Century novelist and sometime amateur detective Sheila Malory. Sheila finds herself most personally involved when the unsavory Gordon Masefield is murdered in his law office. Gordon was a womanizer and wasn't about putting the moves on any woman who came into his scope--whether she was attached elsewhere or not.

Thea Wyatt is also an attorney in the law office. She had recently returned to Taviscombe to take the job on offer and met Sheila's son Michael. Sheila can sense Cupid at work and is delighted when Michael and Thea announce their engagement. But not too long after this happy event, Thea comes rushing to Sheila's house, quite disturbed. It seems that Gordon Masefield had been particularly offensive in  his latest efforts to seduce the newest member of the law team and when Thea pushed him away, he stumbled off-balance and stunned himself himself against the desk.  

But when Sheila calls the office to let her friend Hugh know that Thea won't be returning for the day, she finds the police in possession of the office and Gordon Masefield dead from a blunt instrument to the head. Since Thea was observed fleeing the building, the police naturally suspect her of the deed even though she swears Gordon was still alive and nowhere near fatally injured when she ran from the building. Sheila obviously believes her future daughter-in-law to be innocent and sets out to discover the real culprit. There are many suspects to sift through--from all the other employees in the law office to Gordon's family. The man was a real charmer and attracted enmity the way light attracts moths. It would probably be simpler for Sheila to determine who didn't have a motive to kill the offensive womanizer.

It doesn't take Sheila and Michael long to dig up evidence that clears Thea, but after her ordeal at the hands of the police, Thea doesn't want to go ahead with the wedding plans until the real culprit is behind bars. Sheila is even more determined to investigate than ever and through chance conversations and planned encounters, she is able to discern the answer to the mystery. But bringing the killer to justice may not be as easy as she thought.

This is a comfortable murder mystery in a very comfortable cozy series. The plots are not intricate and it doesn't require a lot of heavy deductions on the part of the reader. Placid village life is interrupted by murder; everyone is suitably appalled; Sheila Malory makes her way through the gossip of the town; and, eventually, the crime is unraveled. Little fuss and no muss...and sometimes that just what the doctor ordered.  I appreciate having series like Mrs. Malory to go to when I want a simple murder mystery in a pleasant setting with friendly, uncomplicated characters. Fine reading for a lazy evening.  ★★

[Finished on 4/13/18]

No comments: