Sunday, April 25, 2021

A Death at Seascape House: A totally unputdownable British cozy mystery novel (A Jemima Jago Mystery Book 1)

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A Death at Seascape House is the start of a new librarian cozy series by Emma Jameson. Due out 27th April 2021, it's 293 pages (ebook version) and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

I love library cozies (and libraries, and cozies) and this is the start of a new series, so I hopped in. Main protagonist Jem is back in the area in which she grew up (and left, due to trauma, swearing never to return). She hadn't been in town for 24 hours  before she was already suspect #1 in a murder. Although the plot is a little formulaic, it's well written and I was engaged by the setting and descriptions. I'm not personally a fan of slow burn enemies, love triangles, and romance elements in my reads, but fans who like those will enjoy them here. 

Warning for cozy mystery fans, this one is slightly more hard edged and a tiny bit more graphic than usual for fluffy library cozies. The language is relatively clearn (PG level) and includes only a scattering of damns and similar level mild curses. I found some of the dialogue unpolished and some of the motivations for Jem's actions a bit muddled (she's a bit of a doormat, to be honest). The denouement and resolution were just a bit melancholy for me. 

It's a small-town cozy(ish) setting and the book does have a plethora of small-town oddball eccentric characters. I found most of them funny, but in a creepy kind of way (not entirely sure of the author's actual intent here, but there's a distinctly uncomfortably creepy vibe). The author is unquestionably gifted and prolific and has a firm grasp of the technical aspects of writing. Her descriptive prose is excellent, and as stated, she writes atmosphere very well. 

Three and a half stars with the codicil that readers who don't like harder edged mysteries and occasionally unpleasant characters and actions might want to tread carefully. No fluffy kitties here.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.  

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