Drew Farthering Mystery Series / by Julianna Deering. 1.29.2015

Rules of Murder / by Julianna Deering. (Drew Farthering Mystery, 1)

Bethany House ISBN 9780764210952

Death by the Book / by Julianna Deering. (Drew Farthering Mystery, 2)

Bethany House ISBN 9780764210969

Murder at the Mikado / by Julianna Deering. (Drew Farthering Mystery, 3)

Bethany House ISBN 978076421976

Adult Rating: 4

Julianna Deering’s series featuring amateur sleuth Drew Farthering is set in Hampshire, England during the 1930s.

In Rules of Murder, mystery-buff Drew Farthering is pulled into real mystery and intrigue when one of his party guests, a handsome playboy, is killed. Drew’s American visitor, Madeline Parker, joins him in the hunt for the murderer. Things get personal for Drew when a family member is found dead. Secrets surface as Drew and Madeline start digging for clues, and the two sleuths discover that no one is who they seem to be.

In Death by the Book, Drew and Madeline are drawn into another mystery when the Farthering family solicitor is found dead with a cryptic note pinned to his chest. Days later, a second victim is discovered in the same manner, yet the police are unable to make any connection between the two murders. As more bodies turn up, Drew and Madeline race against the clock to find the killer before he or she strikes again.

In Murder at the Mikado, Drew’s former girlfriend, actress Fleur Landis, arrives on his doorstep seeking help. The lead actor in her production of The Mikado has been killed, and the police have fingered her as the main suspect. Madeline begs Drew to pass up the case, but when a second murder occurs, Drew disregards Madeline’s request and delves into the investigation to discover that everyone in the troupe seems to have reasons to kill. Will Drew and Madeline’s relationship survive the strain?

These mysteries are well-written “cozies,” reminiscent of (and, indeed, with more than a nod to) Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. The reader is occasionally reminded of the era through description and dialogue. Although part of a series, each volume may be enjoyed as a stand-alone book. All three books feature multiple murders, most of which are described in some detail. There are repeated references to smoking and alcohol consumption, including on the part of the main characters.

Linda Matchett, CLJ

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