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October 4, 2017

Review: Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy

by Donna Huber

Fans of Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series will love Vivian Conroy's Lady Alkmene Callendar Mysteries. While Fatal Masquerade is the 4th book in the series, it is the first book I've read from Conroy, but it won't be my last.

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Fatal Masquerade
October 2017; HQ Digital; ebook (384 pages)
cozy mystery, historical
Earlier this summer I discovered Bowen's Royal Spyness series and when I saw Fatal Masquerade at NetGalley I knew I had to try it. And again I came up with a winner. Though there isn't really a reference in this book as to the era, looking at the description of the first book, A Proposal to Die For, it is the Roaring 20s.

Fatal Masquerade is kind of like Downton Abbey meets Clue. There are definitely enough suspicious characters to keep you guessing at the who and why. The only thing we know for sure is that it is in the boathouse with the steak knife.

Main character Lady Alkmeme, who is a bit more than an amateur detective at this point, accompanies her best friend Denise to her family's country estate for a masquerade ball. However, if Lady Alkmeme thought this would be a quiet vacation in the country, she soon realizes it will be anything but when friend and detective partner Jack Dubois shows up as an "old friend" of Denise's father.

Since this is my first book in the series, I would like to have had a little more character development. Instead, we are thrust into the mystery of who murdered the manservant pretty quickly. We do get to know the characters a bit more as the investigation progresses, yet I never really felt much of a connection to any of them.

Conroy created an intriquing cast of secondary characters. I feel like I know them more than I do the two main characters. Perhaps that is because the story arc has been building over the course of 4 books, but there are references that Lady Alkmeme doesn't really know Jack so perhaps the backstories for these two characters haven't been fully revealed.

There is indication that the murder is tied to a mystery that is ongoing for the series. Even so, I didn't have any trouble following the story without having read the previous books. I liked it enough and want to get to know more about Lady Alkmene and Jake that I will be looking for the earlier books.

Buy Fatal Masquerade at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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