Monday, October 22, 2018

Killalot (An Ivy Meadows Mystery #6)

Author:  Cindy Brown
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635114331; 9781635114300
Henery Press Publishing
282 Pages
$31.95; $15.95; $6.99 Amazon
November 15, 2018

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A jouster, a playwright and a detective walk into a faire...but it's no joke when one ends up dead.

Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows is thrilled when she learns that the famous playwright behind Hello Dolly Madison is in Arizona.  Not so much when she realizes he's a suspect in the murder on a Renaissance faire jouster.

As is her friend Riley.  And about a thousand other people, all disguised in Renaissance costume during the fatal jousting match.

When Ivy is hired to investigate she goes undercover as a Cockney belly dancer at the faire and finagles her way into the playwright's Kennedy-inspired version of Camelot--as Marilyn Monroe, no less.

Then, in the midst of her toughest case ever, Ivy has to solve another dilemma:  Will she follow her lifelong dream of being an actor or settle down with the love of her life?

The murder investigation, the play, and real life come together in a twist that begs the question:  Is there a happily-ever-after for anyone?

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Ivy Meadows is attending a Renaissance faire with her boyfriend Matthew, brother Cody and Cody’s girlfriend Sarah, courtesy of free tickets from Ivy’s friend Riley, who’s a knight who will be jousting.  When they go see the jousters, a match between Riley and Angus, the Black Knight, Riley can’t be found.  Yet when a jouster rides in from a different direction, it’s assumed it’s Riley.  And when Angus is hit with the lance and falls off his horse, again, they think it’s Riley.  But the knight rides out of the arena as quickly as he arrived, and it’s obvious that Angus has been direly hurt.  Then Riley appears holding his head, saying as how he was hit from behind and someone stole his horse.

When the dust settles, it’s determined that someone stole Riley’s horse and helmet and purposely attacked Angus.  Yet when the man later dies from his injuries, Riley is suspected of being involved.  The people at the Faire want an investigation, and they hire Ivy to look into the matter for them.

While hunting for the person responsible, she's curious why Riley's horse ended up at a nearby ranch, which is owned by a playwright.  It is by chance that she discovers the playwright is looking for a Marilyn Monroe impersonator for a spoof of Camelot called Kennelot, and with the help of her friend Timothy, she fits the bill and is hired on the spot.  But the other two people on the "set", JFK and Jackie, seem suspicious and she isn't ready to rule them out as yet.

Then, as if things couldn't get any worse, her boyfriend Matt tells her he wants to discuss something, but before he can he receives a call from home saying his mother had a stroke and he needs to leave immediately, so whatever it is has to wait; leaving Ivy to deal with her insecurities wondering what it is.  With enough on her plate and too much on her mind, is Ivy going to be able to track a killer?  Or will someone be able to get away with murder?...

This is the sixth book in the series and a very good entry indeed.  Ivy is a terrific character, albeit a neurotic one.  She's human, and has her own demons to face: she carries forever a guilt that she caused her brother's disability (which is true enough) but has never been forgiven by her parents for doing so, leaving her PI uncle as a pseudo-parent instead; and it carries over into other parts of her personal life.

But she needs to concentrate on finding out who really killed Angus, yet she's not being helped by anyone she talks to in finding out the truth.  It is only matters of chance that even allow her to get close to discovering what she needs to know.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit and felt the mystery was done very well, and even though I was pretty sure who the killer was early on (I read a lot of these), it was still fun to watch Ivy sift through the clues to get to the truth.

We also watch Ivy as she wonders whether she can have a career and a love life, or will she have to give one up?  She needs to face her own demons and given her past, that's not an easy thing for her to do.  It's also a lot of fun to watch her try and stay in character as "Marilyn" and still figure out if anyone at the ranch had anything to do with the murder.

The story moved along quite nicely, the words flowing at a good pace.  The characters are fully dimensional and believable, and you can feel Ivy's angst as she tries to figure things out for herself - in all areas.  When the ending comes and the killer is revealed, it's rather sad and makes you realize that no matter the circumstances, we are all accountable for our actions.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.

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