Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle (Murder, She Wrote, #56) by Jessica Fletcher & Terrie Farley Moran
As cozy and comfortable as the previous series’ books, it still provides a fresh and exciting new story.
When Jessica Fletcher is asked by an author friend to stand in for her as the American Guest of Honor at the Belfast Book Festival, she is happy she can help out and starts planning her trip right away. So, when her next-door neighbor, Maeve O’Bannon, asks her to carry some sentimental family heirlooms with her and deliver them to cousins living in Northern Ireland, she says yes. Having a couple of extra days in the country will be nice to see the sights, relax, and meet new people.
The book festival is interesting and hectic, but Jessica’s inherited duties come off without a hitch, and she is soon traveling to Bushmills, the small village where Maeve’s extended family lives. Her cousins, sisters Jane and Beth Anne, and another cousin, Michael, all work in the family cosmetic business. Marine Magic has been in negotiations with a small French firm to merge, hoping that together they can optimize their reach into the international market for skin care. Representatives from Belle Visage have recently arrived in Bushmills tasked with facilitating and, hopefully, finalizing the merger, so the three cousins are under considerable pressure to broker an advantageous agreement.
At a welcome dinner party for Jessica and the two Frenchmen at Jane’s grand home, Jessica and one of the Belle Visage men are the unseen witnesses of the tail-end of a bitter argument between Michael and Beth Anne regarding the terms of the merger. But the party continues seamlessly, with the rest of the guests unaware of this scene. However, the following day while Jessica is riding a bicycle along the country lanes near the village, she comes upon a car parked awkwardly on the side of a road. As she passes by, she notices the driver of the vehicle is inside, slumped over the steering wheel, and thinking he may need assistance, she stops. When he is unresponsive to her greeting, she touches his shoulder, and he falls sideways across the seat. Jessica is shocked to see the man is Michael O’Bannon, and he is most certainly dead.
Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle is the 56th book in the long-running cozy mystery series based on the television show of the same name. This latest entry is as cozy and comfortable as all those before it, yet it still provides a fresh and exciting new story.
Jessica Fletcher is a kind and observant woman with an insatiable appetite for solving mysteries and serving up truth and justice. She builds a circle of new friends and acquaintances everywhere she goes who help her solve the crime. In this case, Maggie Nolan, the daughter of the owner of the hotel where Jessica is staying, is pulled into the matter. Maggie is also the fiancée of the son of one of Maeve's cousins, so she has a vested interest, making her involvement irresistible. The local chief inspector assigned to the official case comes to see Jessica’s value to his investigation. I enjoyed their back and forth, each trying to draw important information from the other.
The murder victim has gotten involved with some shady characters while gambling, but he’s also angered members of his own family and legitimate business associates. So, there are a couple of scenarios for Jessica and Maggie to consider and more than a few possible suspects. It was compelling reading as they followed their leads into Michael’s background and business dealings.
The setting in Belfast and Bushmills in Northern Ireland offered Jessica several attractive sightseeing opportunities, which are worked into the story. Some are off the usual tourist itinerary, and I was given a new appreciation for the depth of Ireland’s history and the travel opportunities available. The location descriptions were amazing, and even simple country drives sounded beautiful, relaxing, and familiar. It was easy to visualize the action in these settings.
With comfortable recurring characters and its well-known amateur sleuth, I recommend MURDER, SHE WROTE: DEATH ON THE EMERALD ISLE to cozy mystery readers who are fans of the previous books or the television show as well as newcomers ready to sample the long-running series.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.