DEATH TAKES A BATH by Sharon Lynn
SERIES: A Cotswold Crimes Mystery #1
GENRE: Traditional/Cozy Mystery (Clean with mild language)
PUBLISHER: Level Best Books
RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2022
When Maddie McGuire lands an archeology internship at the Roman Baths in England, she assumes everything will go her way. But when this college sophomore discovers a severed human ear on her doorstep, she must solve its meaning before she becomes the next victim, or worse, gets deported. Her tentative friendship with young constable Edward and the beauty of the Bath Abbey are no comfort as her aristocratic coworker Simon sabotages her every move. And the danger only increases when she discovers a dead body, both ears intact.
Praise for Death Takes a Bath:
“A whale of a read! Dip your toe into Death Takes a Bath, and you won’t come out until you’ve reached ‘the end.” A highly recommended page-turner with archaeology, intrigue, an intrepid heroine, a dishy policeman, and . . . a rabbit.”
~ Molly MacRae, Author: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series
“An exciting page-turner! It captured my attention from the first line and kept me riveted until the final twist.”
~ Avanti Centrae, international bestselling author of Cleopatra’s Vendetta
I was delighted with Death Takes a Bath from the very beginning, and I chuckled my way through the first three chapters. The banter and comedic timing in this book is spot on, particularly whenever Maddie and Edward are together. Although there’s a lot of simmering romantic tension between them too, and the book definitely isn’t a comedy. The humorous bits and scenes, however, lighten the mood at just the right moments and keep the story moving along between the investigative scenes.
Maddie, bless her, is a bit of a hot mess, albeit a completely endearing one, and I found her to be very likable and relatable. I could easily spend more time with her in fiction, so I’m thrilled that this is just the first in a series. She’s only nineteen, so at times she makes decisions born out of inexperience, but overall she handles herself in a way that makes her seem much older. Thankfully for her, she makes friends right off with a constable named Edward who is equal parts protective of her and perplexed by her. Their easy affection for each other had me rooting for something more than friendship between them (because of course I was), and I really enjoyed getting to know both characters. Also… Edward lapses into a Scottish brogue from time to time and oh swoon!
The mystery is cleverly plotted, and the unique setting of the Roman baths in Bath, England, gave it a bit of archeological flair as well. I’ve read plenty of stories set in Bath, but these are mostly Regency romances so I enjoyed visiting it in a contemporary setting too. Plenty of suspects cross Maddie’s path, including some unexpected twists that throw a wrench in both her plans and her investigation – basically, Maddie can’t let her guard down and neither can the reader. I didn’t see some of those twists coming, and while I suspected the culprit just ahead of Maddie I couldn’t put together the whys or wherefores until all was revealed.
Bottom Line: Death Takes a Bath by Sharon Lynn was an enjoyable escape to the Cotswolds, complete with a charming cottage, an adorable pet bunny, an endearing American in Bath, a lovable Scottish constable, the Roman baths, and a layered mystery. The tone of the story itself is an engaging mix of British and American, and I enjoyed Maddie’s quirky first person narrative. There’s also an important subplot with Maddie’s friend Tori that I hope will be addressed in later installments, not to mention my continued rooting for Maddie & Edward to fall hopelessly in love. In short, the author has a really enjoyable style – I’m looking forward to following this series and reading more books by Sharon Lynn.
Reviewer’s Note: Readers of my blog may want to be aware that there are a few mild curse words scattered throughout this novel.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
Sharon Lynn was raised in Arizona, but it was living in England as a teenager and every return trip since that inspired the setting of her Cotswold Crimes Mystery series. As a professor of theater, film, and writing she coaches and mentors aspiring artists. Her short stories can be found in anthologies from Malice Domestic and Desert Sleuths. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Please sign up for her newsletter at www.sharonlwrites.com and www.blackbirdwriters.com.
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