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September 30, 2022

A Death at Neptune Cove by Emma Jameson ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

A ruined birthday cake leads to a dead body. A relocated birthday party leads to buried treasure. Can Jem, Pauley, and the rest of the gang solve the mystery before one of their own is wrongfully charged with the crime? 

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

book cover of contemporary cozy mystery A Death at Neptune Cove by Emma Jameson
September 2022; Bookouture; 978-1803147277
audio, ebook, print (274); cozy mystery

A Death at Neptune Cove
is the fourth book in the Jemima Jago Mystery series by Emma Jameson. It is the first book in the series that I've read.

I read a lot of British cozy mysteries, but this one felt a little too English for me. I thought it might be the London slang but I'm not sure it was that (or not just that). I'm not sure where the Isle of Scilly is so maybe it is a geographic difference as most of the present-day English cozies I read are set in the Cotswolds or London. I mention this because I know some American readers are put off by British books that are "too English". It didn't put me off the novel, but I do think it made it more difficult for me to get drawn into the story.

I liked the set-up for the murder - death by a loaf of bread is such a great cozy mystery ploy. 

The cast of characters isn't too big - there seems to be a group of 6 who work through the murder together. I wasn't sure of everyone's connections. Micki and Clarence are related and Pauley is Clarence's business partner. There seems to be a connection between Pauley and Rhys but maybe they have just been friends since they were children. I didn't realize the name of the series was Jemima Jago Mystery because Jem and Pauley seems much more like sleuthing partners rather than Pauley merely being the sidekick. Perhaps this a new development and in early books Jem was the main sleuth. 

I read several cozy mysteries with librarians as the amateur sleuth so I was a little shocked that her role as a librarian isn't more applicable to her detective work. Usually, the librarian uses their research skills or literary references. So it was kind of nice to read a novel not using the normal tropes associated with a librarian cozy.

I prefer cozy mysteries that you can basically pick up anywhere in the series and enjoy it. I'm wondering if this is a series where you need to read the earlier books to enjoy the current one. There isn't a lot of backstory provided for the new reader. This might also explain why I had trouble connecting with the characters. 

There is a heavier focus on romantic relationships than I typically see in a cozy mystery. At times the story felt like a romance novel disguised as a cozy mystery. I don't read romance novels and so the endless descriptions of how appealing the characters looked were a bit tiresome for me. It may just be this one book in the series that has so much romantic commentary since it is relevant to the plot. Pauley had a crush on the victim and it turns out that he left a long list of jilted lovers behind.

Overall, this novel was a bit rocky for me. There were some nitpicky things that I didn't like which amount mostly just to personal taste. It's a solid cozy mystery. I liked the murder set-up and I think once I get to know the characters more that I would really like them. I would definitely try another book in the series to see if it was just me not likely this novel before deciding if this series goes on my must read cozy mystery list. 

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

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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