Saturday 22 January 2022

Murder at the Castle (An Iris Grey Mystery #2) by M. B. Shaw 2020


Iris Grey arrives at Pitfeldy Castle in the Highlands, at the request of the Baron, Jock MacKinnon. Jock has commissioned Iris to paint a portrait of his fiancé, an American socialite Kathy Miller, ahead of their New Year wedding.
Kathy invites Iris into her confidence, she's received a series of threatening notes asking her to call off the wedding. Iris begins to investigate, and when remains are discovered in the grounds of the Castle, she fears for Kathy's safety.

With the wedding fast approaching, Iris once again enters a world of family feuds, romantic intrigue, buried secrets and murder.

This is the second book in the series but is easily read as a standalone.
 This was a good, solid mystery that had me guessing. I thought I had it figured out but it took until the reveal for the full story to come to light. The subject matter is a little bit darker and more tragic than your run of the mill cozy crime novel and I felt that the setting of the old castle fit the atmosphere of the story very well.
The book, although a quick enough read, did slow down in places. I wasn't very pleased with the romantic element as it didn't add anything to the story but at the same time, it made me like Iris more as the character. She's in her forties and doesn't hesitate to have some guilt-free adult fun with a handsome man. It's good to see women of this age group represented well in fiction.

I liked the side characters, especially Haley, the police detective. Kathy seemed like a nice enough character but we don't really get to know her motivations very well. There seemed to be an unexplained and secretive backstory to her that left me with a few unanswered questions. The rigmarole with the teacher was left unexplained as well. Things are alluded to but never satisfactorily revealed. Tying up these loose ends would have tidied up the story better for the reader.

Over all, a good mystery and a series I will keep an eye on.

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