Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Death By Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson

Posted July 22, 2020 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, Jennifer S. Alderson, mystery/suspense / 5 Comments

Travel Can Be Murder #3
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2020
PAGES: 218

A Mother’s Day trip to the Netherlands turns deadly when a guest plummets from a windmill. Was it an accident or a murder? For Lana Hansen, the answer will mean freedom or imprisonment for someone close to her…

Wanderlust Tours guide Lana Hansen and her mother, Gillian, haven’t seen eye to eye in over a decade, ever since Lana was wrongly fired from her job as an investigative reporter. So when Lana’s boss invites Gillian to join her upcoming Mother’s Day tour to the Netherlands, Lana is less than pleased.

What could be worse than spending ten days with her estranged mother? Lana is about to find out…

The tour begins on a high note when the majority of guests bond during their visit to the Keukenhof flower gardens and a cruise around the picturesque canals of Amsterdam.

Despite her initial reservations, Lana thinks this might be the best group she had ever led. Until she discovers one of her guests—a recent retiree named Priscilla—is the person who destroyed her career in journalism.

All Lana can see is red. But circumstances dictate that she figure out a way to lead the tour, make peace with her mother, and not murder her guest. She doesn’t know whether she can handle the pressure.

Lana needn’t worry. Shortly after their fight, Priscilla falls off the balcony of a historic windmill at Zaanse Schans. Was she pushed or simply careless? The investigating officers suspect murder—and topping their suspect list is Lana’s mom!

Can Lana save Gillian? Or will her mother end up spending the rest of her days in a Dutch prison?


Other Books In This Series


There are a few things that set apart the Travel Can Be Murder series from other cozy mysteries – and explain why it’s quickly become one of my favorites!

First, each book takes us to a new setting abroad & over the course of the novel the author seamlessly weaves a travel guide into the story too. We know where to go, what to see, where to eat & shop, where most definitely not to break the rules, etc., as well as being given savvy tips to keep in our figurative back pocket should we ever find ourselves in Budapest, Paris, or (in this case) Amsterdam! (That flower market sounds divine! And I was so sad to read in Alderson’s author note at the end of Death By Windmill that one of the tourist attractions that features prominently in the story closed its doors forever just before publication, a casualty of the pandemic.)

Second, the murder usually happens much later in the book than is typical of this genre, and the author uses that time to really lay a solid foundation for suspects & motives. Less time overall is spent on solving the murder (I had only about 30 minutes left in my kindle read of Death By Windmill when the crime solving began in earnest, though I do read faster than most) but we still get enough time to watch Lana’s past as an investigative journalism aid her in narrowing down the who & the why of each book’s murder. I especially enjoyed the author filling in the blanks in this book on how that past career came to a rather inglorious end – and all the emotional complications that went with it. It feels like we’re at the culmination of something for Lana & I’m eager to see where the author takes her – and us – next.

Bottom Line: If your inner travel bug is getting a bit twitchy with the inability to go anywhere, then you really need to check out this fun travel-themed cozy mystery series! Lana is a great heroine, genuine & likable even when she’s at her worst. And her close friendships are full of so much warmth (even when they drive her crazy – as we all understand lol) that it just makes your heart smile. In Death by Windmill, while the culprit & motive were fairly easy to figure out early on, the twists & turns & impromptu game of “who hates Priscilla more” still keep things interesting. Not to mention the setting which is absolutely delightful & dynamic to the story. A touching (and sometimes sad) mother-daughter theme & a swoonilicious, sparks a’sizzling romance for Lana rounds out the mix!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!

KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion

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Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning mystery series—the Zelda Richardson Mysteries and Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries—and standalone stories.

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5 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Death By Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson

  1. Kay Garrett

    “Death By Windmill” by Jennifer S. Alderson sounds like a wonderful book and one I would greatly enjoy having the opportunity to read. Love the design of the cover!

    Can’t wait to read about this adventure of Lana Hansen and her mother, Gillian, as they explore the Netherlands. It’ll be like taking an adventure journey through the pages of this book.

  2. Faith Creech

    Sounds like a fun mystery! Especially taking place in Holland, such a beautiful country! Thanks for the chance to win

  3. Diana Hardt

    Nice cover. I liked the blurb. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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