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Death at the Gates by Katie Gayle

Title: Death at the Gates (Epiphany Bloom Mystery #3)

Author: Katie Gayle

Published on: 2nd August 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery | Humor

Buy on Amazon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Death at the Gates is the third book in Katie Gayle‘s Epiphany Bloom Mystery series.

After a ‘freak’ accident involving flamethrowers and burning down of the Museum for Movie Memorabilia and Costumes, Pip’s boss Henrietta fires her on the spot – in front of esteemed guests, friends and family (of Pip). Ouch! Well, you really cannot blame Pip for causing the fire, can you? How was she to know the fire and canvas are a dangerous combination? How was she to know the flamethrower could cause a fire hazard… See, Pip is innocent here. Uh-huh.

Pip is at home with her flatmate Tim and their two cats Most and Smokey Robinson when Tim’s school-going sister Claire arrives all teary eyed. She’s threatened to be expelled from school for cheating on an exam. Pip thinks it is no big deal to steal exam papers – after all, Pip has #beentheredonethat. But Tim believes his sister is a model student and would do no such thing as stealing papers. Pip agrees to tag along with Tim and Claire to the school and when the headmistress hears of Pip’s previous sleuthing um.., adventures(?), she recruits Pip to solve the mystery behind the stolen exam papers.

When the first book of this series was released, I learned Katie Gayle (Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel) have signed a three-book deal with Bookouture to write Epiphany Bloom series. Death at the Gates is the third book in this series but I hope Kate and Gail continue to write more of Pip’s adventures. Well, it’s mostly Pip’s misadventures but who’s counting! (As long as Pip solves the case, the mishaps are just blips… yep, no problema!)

The recurring characters in the series include Tim (Pip’s handsome+nerdy flatmate), Jimmy (Pip’s boxing instructor + handsome hunk), Flis (Pip’s sister; famous for her malapropisms), Mummy, Henry (Henrietta’s dad and Mummy’s new love interest) and Fwog Dude.

Pip tags along with Tim and Claire to the school and ends up being recruited as a private investigator. Pip has to ‘infiltrate’ the exam paper scam and catch the perp – in this case, a student – red-handed. Pip decides to go as an undercover sports teacher. During the school’s annual charity fair, Pip discovers a dead body in the school grounds.

Well, to be honest, it was Mummy’s Sally the Llama who discovered the body. There was this whole drama regarding Sally the Llama escaping from the fair and ended up in the farther side of the school grounds. Pip finally caught up to her and tried to pull her to safety but Sally refused to budge – there was a body below, half-buried in a muddy puddle. Pip learns the victim was connected to the school – were they involved in the exam scam? Or, was this murder an act of revenge for something else? The local bobbies are not interested in solving the case so it is up to Pip to bring the killer to justice.

My review is incomplete without the mention of Flis’ famous malapropisms. When Pip tells her about Sally the Llama, Flis says “Oh Lord, she trampolined someone? How awful. Who was it? Not a child, I hope.” *trying to image Sally the Llama on a trampoline…*

Pip got along well with the school girls. Soon after discovering a dead body, Pip faces a series of challenges – the killer has realized Pip is investigating and they try their best to stop her. Coming to the matter of ze hearts, Pip finds Jimmy and Tim handsome – she’s attracted to both and at present, she doesn’t want to think who would be a better partner – Tim or Jim? *eyebrow dance* Also, something seems to be brewing between Mummy and Henry – the Llamas brought them closer… Hmm…

The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. Though Pip takes her own sweet time to identify the perp, the ending is fantastic – we have supergirl Pip saving the day. *plays superhero theme song in the background*

Death at the Gates by Katie Gayle is an entertaining and engrossing mystery. If you love humorous mysteries, you might want to give this series a try.

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