Alan Beechey,
This Private Plot
(Poisoned Pen Press, 2014)

Imagine, read one description of Alan Beechey's new novel, This Private Plot, if P.G. Wodehouse were alive and writing mysteries. This is a perfect description!

The plot is nice and twisty, and mostly character-driven. The absurd moments are very absurd, including the shout-out to Pride & Prejudice -- in a neighboring town there's a couple named the Bennetts, with five unmarried daughters, although their names and characters are not parallel. There were silly situations that yet proceeded naturally from the course of events, and there were twists that I didn't call at all -- and I've read enough mysteries that I can generally predict the main twists. However, this would have been fun to read even if you are more perceptive than I am!

The dialogue is also great, and lots of fun. Our hero, Oliver, is a nice but occasionally a bit dim chap, and his girlfriend ROCKS.

I'm not going to get into the plot for fear of spoilers. Suffice it to say there is blackmail involved with the murder, and sex is involved -- but not explicitly -- in a way both Wodehouse and Austen would blanch at. This is a mystery definitely in the cozy line, but with more protagonist agency than many of the "cozy" protagonists have.

I loved it, and will be getting the other two books in this series, and will be waiting hopefully for a fourth.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

26 July 2014

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