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Death By Puffin (Travel Can Be Murder, #9) by Jennifer S. Alderson 

Exceedingly likable amateur sleuths and equally heinous suspects who you’ll love to hate! 

Tour guide, Lana Hansen, is confused and heartbroken after her Wanderlust Tours boss and friend, Dotty, worries that she may be a ‘murder magnet’ after a murder occurs on several of her previous assignments. Already upset and stressed after a blowup with her boyfriend, Lana impulsively takes the first available flight out of the airport and ends up in Reykjavik, Iceland. She holes up in a hotel for a week, licking her emotional wound and agonizing over her future, when her best friend, Willow, shows up unexpectedly at her door. 

Willow, a new mother, has left her baby at home with her wife to get Lana to shut down her pity party and take in some of the sights of the Land of Fire and Ice. And frankly, Willow also needs a break from being a first-time and full-time mom. Both hope the natural beauty and crisp, clean air of Iceland in the summer will clear their heads and refresh their spirits before rejoining their lives back in Seattle. 

Unfortunately, the insufferable and entitled young women of the bachelorette party in the room next door have also reserved spots on the same tour they’re taking. But when the bride-to-be is involved in a couple of suspicious life-threatening incidents, Lana begins to wonder if she may be “an angel of death” after all. 

Death by Puffin is the ninth book in author Jennifer S. Alderman’s Travel Can Be Murder cozy mystery series. It is fast-paced and lively, with an intriguing cast of characters and a tragic murder with numerous possible suspects. 

Poor Lana Hansen! She’s had a string of excursions back-to-back, and during each one has gotten involved in a murder investigation, most featuring the death of someone on her tour! From the start of the book, she wonders if she is somehow attracting these people because what are the odds, right? I was quite amused by her concerns and was reminded of the standing joke murder mystery readers hear about Cabot Cove of Murder, She Wrote fame being the most dangerous place in the U.S. 

The bachelorette party members are the absolute worst, and the bride-to-be is not much better. The backstabbing, cattiness, and privilege, along with the constant fawning over the bride-to-be and her fiancé, Gunnar, was delightfully atrocious. The conversations and commentary had me both cringing and laughing at times. 

The tour of some of Iceland’s wonders is a fantastic element of the book. There is enough description to give readers a feel for the setting, and the stormy weather creates a wonderfully moody atmosphere for the murder. 

The method of murder is simple yet effective, and Lana’s actions at the time are portrayed with care and quick thinking. I enjoyed Lana and Willow puzzling their way through the suspects to figure out the truth about what happened and why. 

With exceedingly likable amateur sleuths and equally heinous suspects who you’ll love to hate, I recommend DEATH BY PUFFIN to cozy mystery readers who enjoy stories where the characters travel to exciting and exotic locations. 

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

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