Published by: Alibi (June 02, 2015)
For readers of Laura Childs, Ellery Adams, and Jenn McKinlay, the high-flying new Birds of a Feather mystery series from Marty Wingate begins as a British woman gets caught up in a dangerous plot when her celebrity father disappears.
With her personal life in disarray, Julia Lanchester feels she has no option but to quit her job on her father’s hit BBC Two nature show, A Bird in the Hand. Accepting a tourist management position in Smeaton-under-Lyme, a quaint village in the English countryside, Julia throws herself into her new life, delighting sightseers (and a local member of the gentry) with tales of ancient Romans and pillaging Vikings.
But the past is front and center when her father, Rupert, tracks her down in a moment of desperation. Julia refuses to hear him out; his quick remarriage after her mother’s death was one of the reasons Julia flew the coop. But later she gets a distressed call from her new stepmum: Rupert has gone missing. Julia decides to investigate—she owes him that much, at least—and her father’s new assistant, the infuriatingly dapper Michael Sedgwick, offers to help. Little does the unlikely pair realize that awaiting them is a tightly woven nest of lies and murder.
Buy, read and discuss The Rhyme of the Magpie
Marty Wingate is the author of The Garden Plot and The Red Book of Primrose House, and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Birds of a Feather mysteries are planned.
I’ve been a fan of Marty Wingate’s since I cracked open the first of her Potting Shed mysteries, so when I was offered the chance to review this book, the first in a new series, I jumped at it. I have t admit, it took me a while to warm up to the new characters and premise.
Once I did warm up to Julia and her life, I was hooked. I love the use of the magpies as a recurring theme, and the way birds, signs, and portents are all woven together. I thought each character, even those we don’t spend a lot of time with were distinct and dimensional.
Wingate has a special knack for vivid descriptions of place – you can smell the rain when the air is damp, and you can feel your feet squelching through soggy soil, or crunching over gravel. She also has an excellent ear for dialogue, to the point where I could hear the characters’ accents in my head – and no, they’re not all generic-sounding ‘received’ pronunciation. That she manages to do this without writing much in dialect always impresses me.
Marty Wingate might just be the new Queen of the Cozy, but her cozy mysteries are deceptive in that they balance quaint village live with strong female characters who achieve self-significance while still maintaining femininity.
Long may she reign.
Goes well with proper fish and chips, and a hand-crafted lager.
This tour includes a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 e-gift card and a copy of the book! Enter to win.
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Tuesday, June 2nd: 5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, June 2nd: Mystery Playground
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