Murder in the Morning by Betty Rowlands

Murder in the Morning (Melissa Craig #2)Murder in the Morning by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 3.5 stars.

So, this is the second book in the Melissa Craig series. Melissa Craig is a crime writer, who moved to the country in the recent past for a change of pace. However, she has a knack for falling into real murder cases happening around her. Think of Murder She Wrote, but a bit more prudish, this installment I found Melissa to relax a little bit, however, there were a few other characters who definitely showed the age of the novel with their old fashioned thoughts and reactions.

This series was originally published in the early 90’s, and in parts, it does show. I found this more endearing than taking away from the story though, besides some of the thoughts expressed by the characters as mentioned above, however, thinking about it, I feel like their reactions to certain people added another dimension to their characters, so I believe the story was better having included this than if it hadn’t.

In this installment, Melissa has been at Hawthorne cottage for over a year now and has well and truly settled into country life. We meet a few more characters from around Benbury and London, the story actually starts out in London when Melissa has gone with Iris to an awards ceremony at the university. They meet a young woman called Lou, who explains some troubles that have occurred with young man who has won the main award that Iris is presenting, which become evident when he slashes his portrait painting of a beautiful young woman. Fast forward to around six odd months later, and Melissa runs into this young woman who was the model for the portrait when she takes on a writing workshop at a local education center. This throws Melissa into a whirlwind of mystery when a body is found and everyone is a suspect, Mel finds herself racing against the clock to prove the innocence of an art tutor that has taken her fancy.

I found that I enjoyed this one much more than the first, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was used to Melissa’s idiosyncrasies and ideals, Iris’s way of communicating, which I find endearing to her character now, and the setting of the story itself. I felt more of a connection to the characters this time around, even the ones that we were just meeting now I found that I cared about what happened to them.

As for the mystery side, I was pretty puzzled for about two thirds of the book, but worked out the whodoneit aspect with roughly a third still to go. I wasn’t sure of a couple of things, but was pretty certain that I had worked out the who and possibly the why, however, the why wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. I found it to be a rather abrupt ending, but all my questions were answered so I guess I can’t really complain. I just found it rather dropped off when I figured Rowlands would wrap it up a little bit after the initial reveal and following drama.

If you’re a fan of old school whodoneit? and nostalgic for Murder She Wrote like myself, I believe you will enjoy this series. It’s not a jump off the page, completely engrossing page turner, but I find it to be enjoyable none the less, and I’ve become quite attached to the characters and wish to see where they will go to from here.

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