Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Three Can Keep a Secret - A Greer Hogan Mystery #3

Three Can Keep a Secret is the third Greer Hogan cozy(ish) mystery by M. E. Hilliard. Released 7th Feb 2023 by Crooked Lane, it's 320 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. Paperback out in 1st quarter 2024. 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.

This series is developing nicely, and the author writes well and clearly. The author has apparently worked as a librarian and seems to have a similar background in high-end retail fashion as her alter ego protagonist Greer. The librarian-dog-cozy-murder-smalltown-mystery sub-subgenre is always fun and this is a nice addition to the promising start laid down in the previous books. The murders are off-scene and mostly bloodless, there's no graphic content, the language is fairly clean, the characters are (mostly) likeable and intelligent and there are a plethora of suspects and lots of red herrings. I got a slight Agatha Raisin vibe.  She's smart and fashion conscious and sophisticated as well as vulnerable and not so perfect that she becomes insufferable. 

Since it's a librarian cozy, there are of course book tie-ins and title name-dropping. One of my favorite features of librarian cozies is the suggestions for titles, series, and authors with which I was previously unfamiliar. I found a couple of good ones in this book to follow up on as a nice bonus. I suspect most of the titles and series mentioned will be familiar to most readers.

The climax and denouement are well done. It's a fun, slightly melancholy cozy and full of the things which we all love about small-town cozies. Happily in this installment landlord Henri and his adorable bulldog Pierre feature somewhat more heavily. I hope they figure as prominently in the next book.

The unabridged audiobook version has a run time of 7 hours 58 minutes and is narrated by Kirsten Potter. She has an earthy low-toned rich alto voice and a well modulated general American accent (not notably regional).  She manages the read with good inflection and not too much breathiness, and readers will be able to concentrate on the narrative without noticing the narrator overly much. One slight codicil, for Francophiles, he accent for Henri's dialogue is not overly accurate. He doesn't have too much dialogue, so it won't be a problem for most readers. Sound and production quality are high throughout the read. 

Four stars. Highly recommended to fans of the genre. 

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

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