Death in Dark Blue
A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery, Book #2
By Julia Buckley
Author’s website: www.juliabuckley.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
An aspiring suspense author finds herself writing mysteries by day and solving them by night in the second Writer’s Apprentice Mystery by the author of A Dark and Stormy Murder and the Undercover Dish Mysteries.
In the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana, Lena London is settling into her dream job, but someone is making her life a nightmare…
Things are beginning to go right for Lena. She’s got a new job assisting suspense novelist and friend, Camilla Graham. She lives rent-free in Camilla’s beautiful, Gothic house. She even has a handsome new boyfriend, Sam West.
After being under attack by the media and his neighbors, Sam has recently been cleared of suspicion for murder. Journalists and townsfolk alike are remorseful, and one blogger would even like to apologize to him in person. But when she’s found dead behind Sam’s house, Lena must dodge paparazzi as she unravels the many mysteries that threaten to darken the skies of her little town and her newfound love with Sam.
Death in Dark Blue is the second wonderfully exciting novel in A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery series, and it can be read as a standalone. I really enjoyed it, and plan to read the first one to find out what I missed. The setting sounds gorgeous, a snowy winter in Blue Lake, Indiana, a climate that Lena, collaborator with and editor for Camilla Graham, is not used to. It would seem at first that the mystery Camilla and Lena are pursuing is the whereabouts of Victoria West, estranged wife of Sam West, who had been suspected of her murder for a year until Lena found a recent photo of Vic, very alive.
Lena and Camilla’s work to exonerate Sam is part of the first novel, A Dark and Stormy Murder. Sam moved from New York City to Blue Lake during the investigation into Victoria’s disappearance. Camilla met Sam and as they became friends, she believed in his innocence. Camilla has been a romantic suspense author for over 40 years. The day that Lena, a recent college graduate, answered Camilla’s ad to edit her work was the start of one of the best adventures of her life. She has a job I would enjoy if I were younger; she lives in Camilla’s home with her cat, Lestrade and Camilla’s German Shepherds, Heathcliff and Rochester.
Camilla just finished her next novel, Death on the Danube, and it was time for Lena to begin her comments. The Advance Reading Copies of the first book Lena was collaborator on, The Salzburg Train, arrived. Lena walked to Sam’s to give him a copy, and saw what looked like a sleeping animal west of his home. She discovered the broken body of a woman. Not just any woman, but Taylor, one of Victoria’s best friends who had finally, after a year, stopped blaming Sam for his wife’s disappearance. It was time for the media frenzy to begin again.
This is a most fortuitous group of neighbors and friends! One could hunt through small towns around the country and not find such great neighbors. With proof that Sam’s ex-wife was indeed alive, the town accepted him, and continued to even after finding Taylor. Camilla and Lena are very complex characters, with others defined perfectly in tune with their role. I like Camilla, Lena, and Belinda, the research librarian best; not only because of the unique careers they have but for the personalities each embodies to do what they do best. They each are comfortable with work that is often solitary, seeing each new research project, novel, and editing, blogging, or co-writing task as a challenge. To imagine that a woman who has been a best-selling novelist for many years could still have enthusiasm and ideas to fuel a new mystery and romance boggles the mind! I confess that I am most envious of Belinda, researching and aiding in research for the public through the library. Ah, if the world wide web had only been available a few decades ago, I would want to be her when I grew up!
This is an exciting read! I enjoyed most of the characters with the exception of the sensationalist news writers. There are twists that kept this reader on her toes! The killer never met up with the likes of Camilla, Lena, and their friends. Camilla and Lena have an unshakable bond that goes beyond their working relationship. One thing I enjoyed was to see, at the start of each chapter, a passage from Camilla’s current book in progress that related to something that would occur to a character in this novel, so it was something to think about while reading the chapter. I enjoy the cover art that includes a manual typewriter and a mid 20th century telephone. It invites the reader to read the description, then purchase it. Finding the bad guy/ gal, and finding Victoria, was exciting and suspenseful. The end is very satisfactory, and I am looking forward to the next in series – especially with the teaser of what we can look forward to! I highly recommend Death in Dark Blue; the writing is excellent, the mystery is well planned and executed, and the characters have careers that pique the imagination and invite the reader to come back and stay for another visit.