Review of cozy mystery The Shady Chateau by Ana T. Drew
Beware, dressing up as Napoleon can get you killed!
Provence baker Julie Cavallo and her grandma sign up for a Napoleonic re-enactment at a nearby chateau. The event includes theatricals, war games, and costume balls — all courtesy of the host and pillar of the local community, Baron Gustave Cordes d’Auzon.
What a welcome break from baking and catering…and from pining for a tall, dark, and unsociable captain of the gendarmerie.
Unlike the captain, the weekend guests at the castle love conversing. Some are so flamboyant they outshine even Julie’s badass grandma Rose!
It’s all fun and cosplay… until the lord of the castle turns up dead.
Three unlikely culprits plead guilty.
Each gives the gendarmes a different motive.
Each insists they did it alone.
Who’s lying? And why?
And who really killed the baron?
If you’re a fan of Murder on the Orient Express and country house mysteries, then you’ll love this book. It will regale you with a dogged amateur sleuth, a puzzling ensemble of suspects, and a tangled web of lies.
“Julie, darling.” Rose says. “How about we save time and jump straight to the part where you stop pretending that you don’t want to go to the chateau?”
“I’m not pretending.”
“Of course you are.”
She heads out of the room.
Lady follows her and I follow Lady.
“Eric is most likely imagining things,” Grandma says. “Who wouldn’t, after the year we’ve had? Even I see soon-to-be-dead people everywhere! Call him about those discounted tickets and then meet me in the office.”
After I call Eric and tell him that Rose and I will be joining him for the reenactment, I dash to the tiny room where Rose has installed her computer and printer.
A paragon of efficiency when she’s motivated, she’s already found a pattern for our Regency dresses and is printing it out.
She picks up the printouts and adopts the Warrior II pose, pointing the pages in her right hand toward an invisible destination somewhere outside the door.
“Forward, march to the sewing machine!” she calls to Lady and me. “And to glory!”
This was a fun mystery. (As a side note, I always wonder at “fun” being used to describe books about murder, but I digress.) “Fun” really is a good word, though. Lots of interesting goings-on, some cool characters, and cosplay. Plus a lovely setting. Toss in a corpse, and you’ve got yourself a mystery.
While I enjoyed the mystery, I wanted a bit more of the cosplay element. The blurb made me pumped for that part, but I felt like it was mostly hinted at, rather than really shown. This is just my opinion. Others may feel differently.
All in all, worth a read, especially if you like some fictional/historical drama with your modern-day mysteries.
About Ana T. Drew
Ana T. Drew is the evil mastermind behind the recent series of murders in the fictional French town of Beldoc. When she is not writing cozy mysteries or doing mom-and-wife things, she can be found watching “The Rookie” to help her get over “Castle”. She lives in Paris but her heart is in Provence.>>> Visit ana-drew.com for a free cookbook and a game!
Ana T. Drew will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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