Title: The Riverboat Mystery (Jenny Starling #3)
Author: Faith Martin
Published on: 3rd February, 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Jenny Starling is back to solve yet another murder mystery! And this time, she goes as a cook on a riverboat. What can go wrong when one is cruising on the River Thames? A lot!
Jenny Starling, is what can be called, a Junoesque (imposingly tall and shapely woman) cook. At 6’1″, Jenny might look mighty but do not go by her looks, for she is the modern day Miss Marple.
Jenny is hired by Lucas Finch as a cook for the weekend. As she meets him, she realizes that Lucas failed to mention in the advertisement that the weekend was to be spent on his riverboat – The Stillwater Swan. As the name suggests, the boat is majestic and beautiful. The guests for the weekend include the Leighs – Dorothy and David, The Olneys – Gabriel and Jasmine, the captain Tobias Lester, the engineer Brian O’Keefe, the manservant Francis Grey and the host himself and his pet macaw.
Dorothy is three months pregnant while Jasmine, though forty, looks young and is quite a fashionista. It is pretty clear that while Dorothy is devoted to her husband, Jasmine has married hers for money. As the group cruises through the calm and peaceful Thames, Gabriel gets on to his tactics. He tries to woo Dorothy, much to her’s and David’s disgust. David seems jumpy about something while Jasmine doubts her husband. Only Lucas seems to be enjoying but something happens that wipes the smile off his face.
And finally, something sinister happens. Jenny finds a body in the galley cupboard. The police are called in and they all seem to know about Jenny and her adventures. With Jenny’s help, the police solve the mystery behind the murder.
I love Jenny Starling mysteries. Jenny reminds me of Miss Marple, minus the Junoesque figure and the cooking. Her deductive skills are fabulous. I like it when, in the story, she assumes that the police have finally solved the mystery. But, they haven’t and she then explains to them how the murder was committed. And this also means that she identifies the perp before the cops do.
Sergeant Graves and Inspector Rycroft made a nice detective pair. Although Rycroft is experienced and senior, it is Sergeant Graves who uses a bit of his grey cells. Each and every character in the book is portrayed in a unique way. And in the end, how their alibis help in solving the mystery is superb. And it goes without saying that, I have two favorite characters in this book. Jenny, of course, no doubt about that, and the macaw. The bird can literally chit-chat!
I loved the concept of murder on a boat. It is not any boat, mind you. It is a riverboat. What is the difference? As Captain Lester explains to Jenny, unlike the boats that venture into the sea, riverboats have a flat hull and cannot withstand waves or water currents. The majestic Stillwater Swan steals the show, or in this case, the story!
The identity of the perp was unexpected and shocking. After a boatload of red herrings, Jenny finally arrives at the real reason for the murder and the identity of the perp. If I may add, there is a teeny-weeny bit of romance. I won’t say anything more and making this review a spoiler!
I love Faith Martin’s writing. I love the way she explains each and every scene with oodles of details. Everything, including the breeze, the sky, and the mood is explained in detail. You can imagine the scenes in your mind as you read through.
It was just beginning to turn dark, that lovely deepening of lavender into something more nocturnal. A warm breeze played like velvet over the skin, whilst a gibbous moon celebrated by turning from the color of milk to the more emphatic color of a mature cheese.
The last of the aerial patrols of swooping swifts peeled off high overhead, their screeching and screaming calls piercing the night air in a last hurrah. A rarely seen, soft-winged barn owl set off on his night’s hunting, whilst the sky steadily turned to sapphire and the stars began to twinkly like an accompaniment of diamonds.
The Riverboat Mystery by Faith Martin is a brilliant and spectacular page-turner.
If you love to read cozy mysteries that remind you of Miss Marple, then do not miss to check out Jenny Starling series by Faith Martin.
Thank you, Joffe Books and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.
If you have missed my reviews on the first two books in the Jenny Starling series, then check the links below.