EXCERPT: Puck didn’t expect to find a body. She certainly hadn’t been looking for a skeleton of a man no one seemed to remember. How she had mourned him when he disappeared. Her mother told her to stop snivelling, that at fourteen she had no idea what love was.
But she did know!
Now, so many years later, she was still at Oxley Manor, and this morning she was hiding from her mother – as usual. The absurdity that she was thirty-eight years old and still trying to escape Mummy wasn’t lost on her. If her beloved cottage hadn’t been gifted to her, she would leave Oxley. Maybe.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: An English manor home, an unsolved mystery, too many suspects to count… It’s the perfect holiday for romance novelist Sara Medlar.
After solving two murder cases in their hometown of Lachlan, Florida, Sara Medlar, her niece Kate and their friend Jack need a change of scenery. Sara arranges for them to visit an old friend of hers in England. Upon arrival at Oxley Manor, a centuries-old estate that has been converted to a luxury hotel, Kate and Jack quickly realize that Sara is up to something. They learn that Sara has also invited a number of others to join them at Oxley.
When everyone assembles, Sara lets them know why they are there. Decades earlier, two people ran off together from Oxley and haven’t been heard from since—and Sara wants to solve the case. As the people who were there the night the two went missing, the guests find themselves cast in a live mystery-theater event.
In reenacting the events of that night, it becomes clear that everyone has something to hide and no one is safe, especially when the discovery of a body makes it clear that at least one of the people who disappeared was murdered.
Sara, Jack and Kate are once again at the heart of a mysterious case that only they are able to solve. But someone is willing to continue to kill to keep the truth about Oxley Manor buried, and none of the guests are safe.
MY THOUGHTS: I liked the gist of this story but really, it was too long. I loved the characters…Sara, a well known romantic novelist who has developed a penchant for solving real life mysteries; Jack and Kate, her proteges; Puck, whose mother appears to detest her; Clive, the hanger-on; Nadine, so beautiful, so lonely; Willa, who just wants to be loved; Diana, earmarked to marry the heir to Oxley Manor, but who disappears the same night as Sean, the stable manager; Byon the poet; Nicky, heir to Oxley; Mrs Aiken, housekeeper and Puck’s mother; and Bella, friend of Sara and current owner of Oxley.
This book had the potential to be really suspenseful, but it wasn’t. Oxley is an old Manor House with its own chapel, graveyard, an attic and, no doubt, a cellar. A lot could have been made of the setting, but this was an opportunity missed to create a really atmospheric read.
It was interesting, and while I wouldn’t call it ‘irresistible’ it was certainly intriguing enough to keep me reading. There are plenty of suspects for the title of murderer, all with motive and opportunity.
I did not realise, when I picked this book up, that A Forgotten Murder is the third in a series. While it does work as a stand alone, personally I would have liked a little more information on how Jack and Kate came to be involved with Sara. I enjoyed this enough that I intend to read the first two books in the series just to find out.
This is a cosy mystery. There are references to violence and sex, but no graphic descriptions.
THE AUTHOR: Jude Gilliam was born September 20, 1947 in Fairdale, Kentucky. She has a large extended family and is the elder sister of four brothers. She attended Murray State University and received a degree in Art. In 1967, Jude married and took her husband’s surname of White, but four years later they divorced. For years, she worked as 5th-grade teacher.
She began writing in 1976, and published her first book, The Enchanted Land (1977) under the name Jude Deveraux. Following the publication of her first novel, she resigned her teaching position. Now, she is the author of 31 New York Times bestsellers.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Mira US & Canada for providing a digital ARC of A Forgotten Murder by Jude Devereux for review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3232233877