Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Much Ado About Muffin (A Merry Muffin Mystery #4)

Author:  Victoria Hamilton
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Audio CD; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780425282588; 9781515950363
Berkley Publishing
304 Pages
$7.19; $25.20; $7.99 Amazon
August 2, 2016


Opera singer Roma Toscano may have a crippling case of stage fright, but she certainly is stirring up drama in Autumn Vale, New York, as she prepares for an upcoming performance at Merry's Wynter Castle.  With her flamboyant style and flirtatious personality, Roma attracts fans as well as critics, including the town's postmistress - and Merry's bitter foe - Minnie Urquhart.

But Roma and Minnie's heated rivalry goes cold after Merry discovers Minnie dead at the post office.  While every clue seems to be another ingredient in the investigation of Roma, Merry thinks the case is half-baked, and she's eager to get her mitts on the real killer...


Merry Wynter owns Wynter Castle in upstate New York.  She's been in Spain for a couple of months because her late husband's mother wanted to make peace with her (another story).  When she returns home she finds things changed.  Her beau Virgil meets her at the airport and is surly toward her; her roommate Pish has taken in a temperamental opera star - Roma Toscano - that Merry dislikes, her friend Emerald has been taken in by a cult-like personality and is pushing Merry away, and the rest of her friends are acting like she's been gone a year.

But when she's out with Virgil's mother Gogi and they discover the body of the local postmistress, who has been stabbed with a letter opener that Merry recognizes as being owned by Roma, rumors begin to fly.  Everyone thinks the diva committed the crime, but Merry isn't so sure and takes it upon herself to find the killer and set things about her to rights...

Well, this book was a bit of a disappointment.  Merry went to Spain for a couple of months to make peace with her late husband's mother, and enjoy a vacation of sorts, but when she returns home everyone treats her like the enemy.  I guess in the town of Autumn Vale no one is expected to take vacations.  After all, why would you want to go anywhere else?  You're a traitor if you leave the city!  I think these people need a reality check.

Also, when she gets back to her castle she finds that her live-in friend Pish hasn't been taking care of her cat.  He tells her that Becket went for longer and longer walks and just never showed back up.  This is supposed to be her "dearest friend."  I don't know about you, but my dearest friend would not allow my cats to disappear.  If Pish couldn't handle it, he should have told her before she left so she could have made other arrangements.  (Honestly, with not much training, Becket could become an exclusive indoor cat.  I've adopted several feral cats and they're all indoor cats now).  Also, before anyone gets the wrong idea, the coyotes of New York are not the same coyotes that live around my neck of the woods.  Western and Eastern are different in that those in upstate are hybrids - yet another reason to keep Becket indoors.

Then Pish just invites Roma to stay at the castle without asking Merry first.  Plus, Roma is a pig.  She leaves things lying around everywhere, and our spineless Merry doesn't tell her to clean up the mess or find a hotel.  She doesn't even tell Pish that he needs to tell Roma to clean up.  As a matter of fact, in this book it seemed as if Merry was the boarder and Pish owned the castle, because he did whatever he wanted and Roma walked around dramatically, and they practically took over the place.  What kind of friend is he?  He ignores her cat and invites someone to stay rent free who trashes the place, leaving her to do everything, including cooking for the ungrateful witch.  I'd send her out to eat every single meal.  I guess Merry had two divas to deal with.

Then there's the problem of Emerald being taken in by a cult-like person named Crystal who is living off of her and making Em go back to work in a dive bar, even disciplining Em's daughter Lizzie, and she allows her to do this.  Does anyone say anything?  No!  Not until Merry comes back and decides to investigate and discover things aren't adding up.

Plus, this is the place to go if you just want to leech off people - Roma is leeching off of Merry, Crystal is leeching off of Emerald, and even when Minnie (the postmistress) dies, no one goes to her house and tells the leeches there that they have to leave!  I'm sorry, but they should have been told to get out instead of acting like squatters.

I didn't understand why she had to go around town asking everyone to forgive her for taking a vacation.  Jealous, maybe?  Who does that?  'Gee, I'm sorry I went on a nice vacation.  Next time I'll just go camping in them there woods, okay?' 

In the end, the mystery was just okay; although it made sense, by that time I was already irritated by the people of this town and the fact that Pish isn't a very good friend after all.


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