Readers' Favorite

March 5, 2019

A Testament to Murder by Vivian Conroy ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

First Chapter, First Paragraph

It isn't often that I get to start a cozy mystery series with book 1, but Vivian Conroy has created a new series, Murder Will Follow, and A Testament to Murder is the first book in the series. I discovered Conroy a year and a half ago when I read book 4 in her Lady Alkmene Callender Mystery series, Fatal Masquerade (read my review). I fell in love with her writing in that historical cozy and was glad to see this new book at Netgalley.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

February 2019; Canelo; ebook (210 pages)
cozy mystery
A Testament to Murder is set in the 1920s French Riveria. The era didn't play too much importance in the story. Unlike other historical cozies I've read recently where historical events and people appear, there was none of that in this book. You could tell it wasn't current day, but it could have easily been the 1930s, 40s, or 50s.

Immediately upon starting the story, it felt familiar. A wealthy, elderly man with no direct heirs is dying and has invited his former secretary, former business partner, ex-wife (who is now married to the business partner), their son, and his nephew (who is married to an American "gold digger") to his Riveria villa. A nurse has been employed to look after the old man. Each one hopes to inherit his vast sums (houses, cars, horses, and even a plane!). In fact, when they greet him on his sickbed he in turns tells each one they will be his sole heir. However, at dinner, he has one more cruel twist to announce - each night at the stroke of midnight he will change his will naming one of them (including the nurse, butler, and chauffeur if he has more days in him than friends and family) his sole heir. He goes on to tell them that he has informed a police officer (a former Scotland Yard inspector who lives next door) of his plans should there be any suspicion that his death was a result of foul play. Only the lawyer, the butler, and the chauffeur will know whose name is on the will.

Will the heirs kill to inherit the millions? If not for the money, then perhaps for the secrets each one would rather have left buried?

There are a lot of twists and turns as each one gets their turn in the spotlight as the would-be murderer or cringing from the light that might reveal their hidden pasts. The cast is colorful which helps make a familiar plot interesting.

At one point I did worry that the Butler did it.

The characters and terrific writing style definitely kept me reading and I will say that there is a nice twist at the end that gives the plot a bit of originality.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to more in the series. As Conroy mentions in her acknowledgment at the end, this book is a tribute to Agatha Christie. And I believe Christie fans will be pleased with this tribute.

Buy A Testament to Murder 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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  1. Donna, this sounds fun and I love the cover as well.

    Here's my pick:

  2. I love getting in on the first in a series too! Sounds good.

  3. I love a good cozy mystery series, and I love finding them at Book One, too. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine for today: “THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP”

  4. I agree that getting to a series at the beginning is best. This one sounds fun!

  5. Gotta start at the beginning too!