Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for:
Murder at the Mill
by M.B. Shaw
Jacket Copy: A picture hides a thousand lies… And only Iris Grey can uncover the truth. Iris Grey rents a quaint cottage in a picture-perfect Hampshire village, looking to escape from her crumbling marriage. She is drawn to the neighboring Wetherby family and is commissioned to paint a portrait of Dominic Wetherby, a celebrated crime writer.
At the Wetherby’s Christmas Eve party, the mulled wine is in full flow – but so are tensions and rivalries among the guests. On Christmas Day, the youngest member of the Wetherby family, Lorcan, finds a body in the water. A tragic accident? Or a deadly crime?
With the snow falling, Iris enters a world of village gossip, romantic intrigue, buried secrets, and murder.
Title: Murder at the Mill
Author: M.B. Shaw
Genre: Mystery, Cozy
Source: Free ARC from Minotaur Books
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Minotaur Books. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Thoughts: My first thought is, it may be marketed as a cozy, and I can see it has some cozy features (no lewd language, no steamy sex scenes, no graphic violence, etc.), but it doesn’t meet my personal definition of cozy. It isn’t light or quirky or sometimes funny nor does it have that idealistic feel that, to me, feels like a cozy. It isn’t especially suspenseful or heavy or dark either. Straight up mystery here, people. And a good one!
Immediately, I liked Iris, despite her dithering about in ending an obviously failed marriage, one that had been sucking the soul out of her for years. It’s just that it was so obvious she was already emotionally out of the relationship, but after so many years, was reticent to lower the casket. She did have the strength to finally take a breather, give herself some space, and that choice impacts her life in ways well beyond the state of her marriage.
I love that she’s a funky and gifted creative. I found it impossible not to root for her. When things took a somewhat unexpected turn (I suspected, but didn’t want to believe it!), it was like a punch to the gut. But rest assured, the future has good things in store for Iris. This is meant to be the first in a series after all, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
The story was very smartly written. The character development was superb, and a huge factor in keeping me off track. In the end, my gut feeling wasn’t far off the mark, but I questioned that feeling, often betting against it, all along the way.
One of my favorite things about this book: the author focused on the intangible gifts that can come along with being a creative type. Some might be hard-pressed to buy into an artsy fartsy type like Iris being a natural sleuth, but we’re reminded throughout the book that there are often innate skillsets that come along with talents in the arts, like attention to detail, patience, and persistence.
All around, a wonderful read. Very much looking forward to Iris’s next mystery!