My rating: 4 of 5 stars to Carrie Doyle‘s Death on Lily Pond Lane, her second in the Hampton’s Murder Mystery series. I usually start a series with the first novel, but I was given a copy of the second one and decided to dive right in. And I’m glad I did… it’s a great book. But now I’m a little disappointed I missed out on what sounds like some great intro and backstory in the first book. I will definitely go back to read it.
Chef Antonia is fresh off solving a murder when she finds herself a new dead body in one of the Hampton houses she manages as a part-time job when not cooking delicious meals in her East Hampton Inn. This time it’s Warner Caruthers, a young guy looking to break into the movie business with his sneaky reveal of Hollywood stars’ nasty secrets, who turns up dead in the bathtub of a house Antonia is checking on one afternoon. And then an elderly woman who visits Antonia’s Inn for weekly tea seemingly in her sleep, followed by the difficult ex-wife of one of the men on Warner’s dastardly documentary. And let’s not forget about that peculiar can of Lysol that turns up in the bathroom near Warner… But how does it all fit together?
Along the path, Antonia begins to date Sam, a new chef in town with a mysterious side, but still pines a bit for Nick, a famous actor considering splitting from his wife. She gets closer to friends Genevieve (a fun character) and Joseph (a writer in a scooter), builds her business and deals with her difficult past divorce from a nasty man. Each day, she grows stronger, and each day, she gets closer to solving the puzzle… right up to the point where the killer realizes Antonia’s figured out the mystery and tries to kill her too!
1. Antonia is fantastic. She’s strong, smart, pretty, organized, honorable and fun. You root for her the whole time. She’s not whiny and weak, afraid of being chased by the killer. She just goes for it. And it makes for a great story. I would want to be friends with her.
2. All the characters are strong, and the plot is complex. It could be any number of solutions along the way, all reasonable. And when it unfolds, it is a twist — and believable. I should have been able to guess it, but I didn’t this time. I had my mind stuck on a detail that I was fairly sure was important, but in the end, it was not what I thought it was. I love to be stumped!
3. I read 90 pages one night and then 300 the next day. Couldn’t put it down as I wanted to get to the bottom of it. Reads quickly. Easy and realistic dialogue. Takes the bite in the Hampton’s lifestyle and lets it jump off the pages.
Very little to say in the way of improvements. A few minor details should have been tied together a little more tightly in the end. I think there’s a setup in the last two paragraphs for the next book, but I would have liked it to be even more blunt.
I think I’ve found a new series I will enjoy reading… but unfortunately I’ll have to wait for the next one to come out. Usually I’m a few books behind… oh well, good things are worth waiting for!