Title: Mums and Mayhem (A Magic Garden Mystery #3)
Author: Amanda Flower
Published on: 11th August 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
World famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland for a grand home-coming concert. Fiona Knox, an ex-Tennessee resident who has now settled in Scotland to look after her godfather’s magical garden is excited about the concert. A delivery of Chrysanthemums arrive on time and the stage is set for the concert.
Barley goes on a 15-minute break and never returns. Fiona goes in search of him and finds him dead in his tour bus. Fiona’s parents are in Scotland to pay their girls a visit (Isla, Fi’s younger sister is in Bellewick too). Fi learns from one of the murder suspects her father Stephen visited Barley minutes before he was killed. Fi is desperate to clear her dad’s name.
Mums and Mayhem is the third book in A Magic Garden Mystery series by Amanda Flower. Since the main theme of the story is Fiona’s inheritance – a magical garden – it is better to read this series from the start.
In the previous book, we saw Fiona come across a letter written by her godfather Ian. Fiona learns her real father is Ian and this is the reason for her to inherit Duncreigan, the magical garden. Fiona confronts her mother with this discovery but her mother is not ready to talk about it. Not yet.
In Mums and Mayhems, we see Fiona and Isla’s parents paying them a visit. Their mum is keen on Isla moving back to Tennessee and continue to lend a hand at their family farm – and finally inherit it when the parents retire. Isla followed Fi to Scotland and found love. She and Stan are going strong. How will Isla’s parents take it when they learn their daughter might never return to the US?
Barley McFee, the famous fiddle player, is somehow connected to Fi’s dad. Until the second half of the story, we see Fiona trying her best to find out what went wrong between her dad and Barley. Barley arrived at Bellewick with his band. One of the band members Kendra and Barley were a couple until a month ago. Did their tiff end up with Barley strangled with a piece of string?
Amanda Flower is a multi-talented author and I am a fan of her writing. Her storytelling is simply brilliant – as I read through, it felt like a movie playing in my head. Don’t get me started on Craig’s handsome hunkish looks! 😉 I really liked the amalgamation of magic garden, Fiona’s confusion about her real father, and a murder mystery. The Barley McFee Grannies or BMGs, for short, add a tinge of humor and quirk to the story. These grannies are nasty too – stalker alert!
The suspects list is long and Fiona has a tough time gathering clues. The villagers know she would go around poking her nose where it does not belong. Meanwhile, her magical garden is dying. The day after the murder, Fiona pays a visit to the garden and finds all the lovely flowers and plants wilted. She’s heart-broken. There’s nothing she could do to revive them. The only thing that has survived in the garden is a yellow rose.
The suspense was well-maintained throughout the story. It wasn’t easy to identify the killer – red herrings were plenty. Likeable characters, an interesting murder mystery to keep one hooked on till the end and a splash of magic make Mums and Mayhem a refreshing and entertaining read.
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.