A Fatal Footnote
Open Book Mystery #2
By Margaret Loudon
Author’s website: pegcochran.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Writer-in-residence Penelope Parish will need to use every trick in her quaint British bookshop to unravel a murderous plot that threatens to ruin a ducal wedding.
The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Upper Chumley-on Stoke has all the makings of a fairy tale, complete with a glowing bride and horse-drawn carriage. But it wouldn’t be much of a story without a villain, and as American Gothic novelist Penelope Parish is coming to learn, happy-ever-afters are as fraught in this charming British town as they are in her books.
When the Duke’s former girlfriend is found murdered at the reception it’s up to Penelope and her newfound family at the Open Book bookshop to catch the killer before they strike again. (Goodreads)
Margaret Loudon’s sophomore entry in the Open Book Mystery series, A Fatal Footnote, finds protagonist Penelope caught up in the festivities of the local minor royalty’s wedding. Everything goes well until one of the guests is found murdered during the reception ball. The victim is the Duke of Worthington’s former girlfriend, and he quickly becomes a suspect. The duke’s new bride Charlotte turns to Penelope to help clear his name, and Pen finds several people who have reason to wish Cissie, known in the tabloids as the “loo paper princess”, dead. Though sidelined from the investigation by investigators from London, DI Maguire and Pen work together to unmask a killer(s) as the body count rises.
I enjoy this series, and its quirky characters. Penelope is a great protagonist who is intelligent and does not jump to conclusions. Her sister Beryl arrives on the scene in this tale, and even though she and Pen work through some of their issues, I am not sure that I like Beryl very much. Time will tell. Pen’s budding relationship with DI Maguire feels organic, moving along at a nice pace, and there is plenty of chemistry between the two. The supporting characters add lots of local color, and I particularly adore Figgy who operates a tea cart within the bookstore. Loudon paints the small English village setting with vivid detail making my Anglophile heart happy.
The mystery is thoughtfully plotted, and the story moves along at a steady pace. All of the suspects are distinct personalities with unique motives. There are plenty of clues but also a bit of misdirection to keep readers guessing until the very end. I did not put all of the pieces together until Penelope did.
A Fatal Footnote is a delightful romp in the English countryside sure to entertain any cozy mystery reader.