Death Waits in the Dark
A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery, Book #4
By Julia Buckley
Author Website: juliabuckley(.)com
Writer’s apprentice Lena London is back and better than ever when her friend bestselling suspense novelist Camilla Graham needs help solving a town murder that hits a little too close to home...
It’s summertime, and Lena and Camilla are busy working away while a town vandal runs amok. Things get even more complicated when Jane Wyland pays Camilla a not-so-friendly visit and gives her an ultimatum: reveal Camilla’s husband James’s family secret, or she will. Lena assures Camilla that nothing will come of the woman’s threats, since the family has no secrets to hide.
When Jane Wyland is later found dead, they’re convinced that whatever secret she was planning to expose led to her death. With Lena’s assistance, Camilla is determined to solve the case before the finger points at her…
What an exciting and suspenseful adventure awaits in Blue Lake, Indiana! I enjoyed vicariously living a great career with Lena London, apprentice to famous author Camilla Graham. This cozy mystery appeals on many levels with the wise and witty protagonists, very intriguing and suspenseful mystery, and revisiting the early 1970’s with the circle of friends that James, Camilla’s late husband and Adam, her gentleman friend, enjoyed when they were young. I also appreciated the lyrical descriptions of the landscapes and birds, as well as how the author relates the weather to Lena.
Camilla’s unexpected visitor, Jane Wyland, was a retired elementary school teacher. She had been part of a group of friends that included her late husband, James. before Camilla arrived from England to marry him. Jane had never been kind to Camilla, but she had never been a force to be reckoned with as she is now. She told Camilla that if she didn’t air the Graham closely-held, secret dirty laundry from those days, that she, Jane, would. She would return tomorrow to find out what Camilla decided.
Jane never had a chance to return the next day. After struggling through the evening trying to understand what Ms. Wyland was referring to, she asked Lena to take her to Jane’s early the next day to ask what the secret is. When they arrived there, Jane could give no more ultimatums or explain what she claimed to know. The police had been there much of the night, as Jane had been murdered.
Champion mystery and puzzle buffs, Jane and Camilla wanted to do something helpful, not only to find who the killer is, but to find out what the secret is. When the friends gathered for Jane’s memorial service, it seemed like battle lines were drawn. They discussed Jane’s sister Carrie, who had left town suddenly a few months before Camilla arrived. Nobody knew why, but since Jane returned from Carrie’s recent funeral in Chicago and moving back into the family home in Blue Lake, she had not been the same. Carrie and James’ names were linked, and Camilla announced before leaving the restaurant that she and Lena would find what happened to Carrie and clear James’ name. Someone was running scared, as someone followed the two women, crashed into the back of Lena’s car and sent it rolling downhill.
I envy Lena’s job, as it sounds like one that I would enjoy! Collaborating with a talented, celebrated author is different from writing one’s own novel, but working with and for Camilla has brought love and friendship into her life, and she is honing her craft at the side of one of the very best. All characters are defined as well as necessary for their roles, so each is a three-dimensional individual.
One thing that was enjoyable is that, starting each chapter, is a quote from one of James’ letters to Camilla during the months they were apart just before their marriage. Often that quote either was an indication of something they would learn while going through some of James’ old letters, through Adam’s photograph albums, or through talking with some of the group of friends. This was a difficult mystery to solve! The person who I suspected throughout much of the novel was not the killer, and the person finally identified is not someone I never really considered. Nor did I anticipate the person who caused Carrie to leave town to be who it really is. There are several surprises at the end that give this reader much to look forward to in the next novel. I highly recommend Death Waits in the Dark; it is a fabulous series for all who enjoy reading about writing careers, two unlikely protagonists working on real life and fiction mysteries, and very well-written cozy mysteries.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*