Title: Champagne and Catastrophes (A Peridale Cafe Mystery #14)
Author: Agatha Frost
Published on: 21st October 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Julia and Barker have finally set a date for their wedding. Jessie has gone backpacking to Australia with her brother Alfie and boyfriend Billy. Leah, Julia’s best friend in school, moves into the cottage across the lane and the duo have a lot of catching up to do.
Roxy, Johnny, Leah and Julia were best friends twenty years ago. When Julia mentions Roxy and Johnny to Leah, she hesitates to meet them. When Julia calls up Roxy to talk about Leah’s return to Peridale, Roxy starts to ignore Julia’s messages and phone calls. Johnny is avoiding the topic and Julia. What went wrong twenty years ago that people still hold a grudge on Leah? Leah disappears one evening and Julia suspects one of her friends might have had a hand to play in it.
Champagne and Catastrophes is the 14th book in the Peridale Cafe Mystery. Over the last 13 books, each of the main characters – Julia, Sue, Dot, Barker, Jessie and Billy – have come a long way. We have seen them at their best and worst.
Julia and Barker have adopted Jessie; Jessie is currently in Australia and Julia misses her a lot. Julia’s protective and motherly nature has also been the plus point of this series. She’s known to have forgiven even those who hurt her real bad. Jessie was a homeless teenager who broke into Julia’s cafe after dusk. A year and a half later, look where Jessie is…
The mystery angle kept me hooked on to the story. However, the quirkiness of the characters ( Grandma Dot especially) was a tad over-the-line. The story line is now slightly inclining towards family/relationships. As Leah goes missing and Julia goes sniffing around for clues, she learns a thing or two about Leah’s past. As the story ends, we see Julia forgiving Leah or rather, not judging Leah. This was surely a really nice touch to Julia’s role in the story – no matter what people have done in the past, they deserve a second chance…
Champagne and Catastrophes was a little different from the other books in this series. We have the perfect combination of family, friends and a missing person (possibly murdered). I have enjoyed almost all the books in this series so far and somehow, with the last two books, I felt something’s missing. As a mystery lover, I do keep my expectations high on the mystery and suspense element – and a little low on the romance/family angle.
Overall, Champagne and Catastrophes was a fun and interesting read. This book can be read as a standalone but as is the case with any series, it is always better to start from the beginning to get a clear picture of the overall series plot.