Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dressed for Death in Burgundy (A French Village Mystery)

Author:  Susan C. Shea
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781250113023
Minotaur Books
288 Pages$26.99; $12.99 Amazon
May 1, 2018


After finding herself mixed up in a murder investigation the previous summer, Katherine Goff's life simply has not been the same.  Her husband has been in the US recording a new album, the Burgundy region locals are finally starting to see her as a real neighbor, and Katherine has even started helping out with "tourist" excursions.  It seems she's finally found her place in the small community of Reigny-sur-Canne.

But when Katherine stumbles across a body in the local museum during a tour, she finds herself caught up once again in a whirlwind of gossip and speculation.  When the police zero in on her friend Pippa as a suspect, Pippa and Katherine team up to find the real killer and clear her name.

However, the more clues they discover, the more the real killer wants them off the trail.  When Katherine and Pippa start receiving threats, they must decide what they are more afraid of - the police getting it wrong, or possibly becoming the killer's next targets.


Katherine Goff, American expat who lives in a small town in France with her musician husband and pets, is trying to live a quiet life, interrupted only by the fact that her husband Michael is in the states recording an album with a famous country star.  It's getting close to Christmas, and she can't wait to have him back home for the holiday.

But all does not stay quiet for long.  While doing a favor for a friend - driving American tourists on a museum tour - she encounters the worst possible scenario.  While touring the museum, they find a dead body that turns out to be the wife of the local butcher.  While Katherine would like nothing more than to leave it behind her and allow the local gendarmes to handle it, her friend Pippa, a British aspiring writer, wants to solve the murder and use it in her novel (fictional, of course).  But when Pippa starts looking for clues, she doesn't realize that it makes her look suspicious, since she seems to be where the clues are found.

So Katherine feels the need to help her friend, albeit reluctantly, and just wants the matter settled before Michael gets home and finds out she's been digging around in another murder.  Only Pippa won't let it go, and now she's dragging Katherine's little friend Jeanette into the mix, and Katherine has no choice but to help and try and find out who wanted the butcher's wife dead...

This is the second book in the series, and I will say that it has improved over the first.  The plot was better and there weren't so many people as to be confused about who was who, which is a good thing in any book.

I did begin to wonder if these people ate anything but sausage, though.  (Their cholesterol must be sky high in France).  Every time you turned around that's all anyone was eating.  Anyway...I found this book to be darker than the first.  Winter in France in this small town was depressing; and there was really no feeling that Christmas was an enjoyable time of year.  No visiting each other's homes, no decorations, no baking, etc.  I was surprised about Katherine's financial situation, because in the first book we were given the impression that if they could just pick up and move to another country they must have had the financial means to do so, but in this book they are just struggling by and hoping Michael can make a go again of his career.  It was as I said, a surprise, to say the least.  Pippa also appears to be struggling, and since she doesn't seem to have a job, where is her income coming from? (I pay attention to details).  It may have been mentioned in the first book, but if so, it was only a sentence or two and should have been reiterated in this one.

While I would have liked to enjoy this book more, unfortunately, I didn't feel a connection with any of the characters, and that's a big plus in a book.  If you don't feel a connection, then the book doesn't have any kind of an impact on you.  Not the death, not the solving of it.  In this case, because I never really connected with Pippa or Katherine, I didn't really care about what was happening to them at any given time.  Also, there is a bit of a spoiler below, but I have hidden it.

Other than that, I do believe that this book has promise if the series continues; I would actually say that it was a 3-1/2 star book well on its way to four stars, especially if Katherine and Michael's financial situation continues to improve, as well as Pippa finally finding herself a published author.


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