Muffin maker Merry Wynter hopes to find a buyer for the castle she’s recently inherited. But when she throws a party to draw interest, she finds someone who’s bought the farm instead…
Merry’s career as a New York City stylist has crumbled, but her passion for muffins has helped her rise upstate in Autumn Vale. Everyone in town loves the tasty treats. Still, she would like to return to her glamorous life. Besides, the upkeep of Wynter Castle is expensive, and Merry’s cup isn’t exactly overflowing.
So in order to bring some prospective buyers into the mix, Merry whisks together a spooky soiree and decorates the castle with dashes of fabric and a sprinkling of spider webs. Friends new and old are invited, and everyone has a blast. But as the revelers empty out, Merry notices one partygoer who isn’t leaving—or breathing. Now Merry must hurry to unmask a killer before her perfect plans turn into a recipe for disaster…
My Thoughts :
I remember liking the debut in this Merry Muffin Mysteries and was looking forward to this sequel. However when I finally got around to sitting down with this one I instantly felt a little 'meh' about the whole thing. The first chapters in the book were basically a rehashing of the first book with some new bits and bobs thrown in to confuse. I kept going, waiting for the murder mystery, but the wait was a long one and I have to say I was tempted to give up.
The one good thing about this sequel is the concept. It is a nice enough idea despite being a little unrealistic at times but most cozies are. However there are so many little annoying things inside this second book that really make me wonder if I would read a third installment. The muffin aspect isn't really that big and doesn't make much sense this time around. I find it hard to believe that after inheriting this amazing castle that Merry hasn't explored it all. Maybe she hasn't see all of the grounds but the fact that she went into the attic for the first time in this book was very weird and laughable.
I think the main pain in this book is the amount of characters. I tried to keep them in their place and know who they all were and how they were connected but it was impossible. Even the main characters who all seem to be living in the castle were hard to keep track of. Either there was just too much information or the author didn't manage to explain things properly. I am too confused to know for sure.
What else? Well the sudden announcement that there was another probable heir was confusing. Merry's dithering about it was also confusing. I think the majority of people would insist on an instant DNA test. Yet she decides to have people search for clues and interview people who knew her uncle. A waste of time. Oh and the party also seemed like a big waste of time. I don't understand how one grown woman with so many supposedly clever friends around her can't come up with a better way to make money and keep the castle.
I could keep going but at the end of the day I finished the book despite the many problems I had with the story and characters. The murder mystery plot wasn't that bad but all the twists and turns the author put in the book to make it possible and plausible really ruined the general concept and make things too complicated.
If there is a third book in the series I may read it. I do like Victoria Hamilton's Vintage Kitchen mysteries and will definitely be catching up with them soon.