Death By the Book by Julianna Deering

Drew Farthering Mystery Book 2
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764210961
Genre: Christian, Mystery
320 pages
My source: Netgalley

Author’s Website

Book description:
Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl’s tearful confession point to the victim’s double life, but what does the solicitor’s murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem–except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn’t at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?

I read the first book in this series and reviewed it earlier. I was so tickled to get to review the second book as I really enjoyed the first. I was not disappointed. Another excellent mystery from Ms. Deering. 

Each victim has an antique hatpin holding a cryptic note stabbed into the victim. The notes are from Shakespeare. But what do each of the victims have in common? And what exactly do the notes mean? Is Drew the final target? Or his beloved Madeline? Will Madeline agree to marry him in this episode or not? I love that the main characters in this series are mystery readers. I love the little bookshop where they go to get the ‘latest’ mysteries from Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and others. Well plotted, engaging characters, lots of suspects and a really good ‘I never would have guessed’ ending. 

With a thread of faith through out the story Ms. Deering never makes it the overly happiness, sunshiny stuff so much ‘Christian’ fiction have. I stopped reading them because of it. Life just isn’t always that way. 

Well done, excellent read!

Coming in July Book 3 – Murder at the Mikado

Peggy Ann

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

A Drew Farthering Mystery Book 1
Published by Bethany House
Source: Netgalley

‘Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.
Soon, financial irregularities at Drew’s stepfather’s company come to light and it’s clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer–and trying harder to impress Madeline–Drew must decide how far to take this game.’

A well written Agatha Christie style romp. Set in the 1930’s at a manor house. I loved the fact that many vintage authors and titles of their books were named and two of the main characters were vintage mystery fans. Drew and his fellow mystery reader, Nick, decide to investigate the murder on their own and break every ‘rule of murder’ on writer Ronald Knox’s 10 Commandments of Detective Fiction. Fun, romance and danger ensue! 

This is classified as Christian fiction, published by a Christian publishing company. Although as Christian fiction goes Ms. Deering doesn’t incorporate issues of faith and religion as the main stay of the story. It’s all about the mystery with casual mention about the characters faith. It should appeal to everyone. Well developed characters, period detail, humor and a well plotted mystery to solve. I am looking forward to the next installment, Death by the Book, due out March 1st, 2014.

Book quotes:
~ “Nick showed her the book he carried: The Footsteps at the Lock, “Have you read any Ronald Knox? I’ve only just started this one.” 
“I haven’t heard of him,” Madeline admitted.
“Some priest chappie turned mystery writer. I just got through The Three Taps. He tells a ripping tale, Father Knox. He’s even got a list he calls his ‘Ten Commandments’ about what one should and shouldn’t put into a proper detective story. I think he’s jolly right, too.”

~ “Nick looked at Madeline and tapped the side of his nose knowingly, saying in a loud stage whisper, “I have it on the best of authorities that Mr. Farthering has a complete set of Doyle in his study, several of Mrs. Chrisite’s novels in his golf bag, and a stack of books by that Sayers woman in the boot of his car.” 

~ “Almost without fail, darling, so you’d ought to be on your best behavior. Good thing we’re on our way to church. In fact, I’m sure it will do wonders for your reputation to be seen going. Evidently, it doesn’t matter why you’re going so long as you are seen.”
“Do you think everyone’s a hypocrite?”
“Of course not. But there seems to be a great many of them in the church.”
“There are a great many of them everywhere, in case you haven’t noticed. Maybe church is the best place for them, anyway.” She smiled up at him in that pert, challenging way she had. “It’s not the healthy people who need the hospital, you know.”

Happy Reading!
Peggy Ann