Cocktails and Cowardice by Agatha Frost

Title: Cocktails and Cowardice (A Peridale Café Cozy Mystery Series #20)

Author: Agatha Frost

Published on: 24 March 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

Cocktails and Cowardice is the 20th book in A Peridale Café Cozy Mystery series by Agatha Frost.

Dot and Percy are finally married and they invite Julia and Barker to join them on their honeymoon. (Julia and Barker had postponed their honeymoon, thanks to a murder and publishing issues).

When I read about the joint honeymoon, I was expecting Julia and Barker(who is now a P.I.) to solve a case while on luxury cruise. What I did not expect is for them to go to a hotel in Spain and end up running around searching for Dot and Percy.

Let’s rewind a bit. Dot and Percy, along with Julia and Barker are off to Spain. Julia’s great aunt Minnie, an ex-actress, owns a hotel on the Spanish coast. Minnie runs the hotel with the help of her daughter Lisa. Minnie is no more the glamorous model whose photos Julia saw years ago. Soon, it becomes clear the hotel has no staff and Lisa does the cooking, housekeeping and everything else on her own.

Day #2 of the honeymoon, Dot and Percy take a stroll around. They are followed by a man in sunglasses. Before they know, a black cloth is thrown over their heads and they are taken away. A ransom letter reaches the hotel and Julia is devastated to hear her beloved granny is kidnapped.

The story alternates between Julia and Dot. Julia’s baby bump is now visible and her mood swings get the better of her. Dot and Percy are held captive at a ramshackle of a house in the middle of nowhere. They are fed and clothed. Percy has no issues with being kidnapped as long as he gets to spend time with Dot. (REALLY???) The octogenarians spend their time watching Spanish telenovelas and playing poker. Soon they get bored and start to play… hide and seek. *rolls eyes* Of all things, hide and seek while held captive??????

Jessie arrives after hearing the news of kidnapping. The trio (Julia, barker and Jessie) go in search of clues. Jessie is known to be overly sarcastic or wild. But in this book, she goes over the line many times! Being overly sarcastic or rude doesn’t sound funny or quirky anymore. Nope!

To be frank (no, I haven’t changed my name to Frank. Excuse the pun!) I skipped the parts where Dot and Percy plan their escape. It was boring. The alternate angle – from Julia’s point of view – was no better either. Lisa plays quite a role in the story. As the story ends, we see Lisa tangled in this mess but nobody wants to talk about the ‘elephant in the room’.

I have read the first 20 books in this series and I really do not want to give up now. Dot’s controlling and Jessie’s unruly behaviors are spoiling the fun. Oh, not to forget the fuss over Julia’s pregnancy. I hope to see more of mystery and less of drama in the next book. If not, I might decide not to continue reading this series.

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