Sunday, June 13, 2021

Murder, She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond (Murder, She Wrote #53)


Murder, She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond is the 53rd Murder, She Wrote mystery, this one "co-written" by Terrie Farley Moran. Released 8th June 2021 by Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 288 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. 

This is a comfortably reliable cozy series with an iconic protagonist (everyone's favorite mystery author Aunt Jessica) and a well known supporting cast of characters. The plots are easy to understand and the puzzles are generally cleverly constructed and well written. This installment revolves around a visit to a friend from Jessica's past who has recently married a wealthy businessman. Jessica's not the only guest however, as the house is full of a stable of potential suspects with good reasons to do away with her friend's husband (who is, admittedly, a world class jerk to everyone except Jess's friend Dolores (who is his wife) and a young granddaughter named Abby).

If it's a bit formulaic, it's a well known quantity and precisely why most readers are drawn to the sub-genre. The plot does lag at a few places; I found myself skimming just a bit. All in all though, it's a sweetly clean murder mystery without on-page violence, bad language, or sexual content. The murder victim is a (mostly) unlamented jerk who makes his exit around page 30 and the rest of the book is spent in information gathering and clever deduction.

I enjoyed the book, but I daresay I'd avoid any college reunion, wedding, or christening to which "Aunt Jess" is invited for fear of tripping over a recently murdered friend or acquaintance. "We know you're busy, just send a card, Auntie!". 

Four stars.

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

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