Title: Death by Fountain (Travel Can Be Murder #5)
Author: Jennifer S. Alderson
Published on: 18 December 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Wedding bells are ringing and Lana Hansen could not be happier! Well, Lana is not getting married but her friend and fellow tour guide Randy Wright is! Randy and his fiancé Gloria are tying knot at a vineyard in Tuscany. It’s going to be a Christmas Wedding. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh!
Well, it certainly isn’t ‘fun’ when Randy’s stalkerish ex-girlfriend arrives at the hotel where Randy and his friends are currently staying. She gets into a fight with Randy. Hours later, she’s found dead in the Trevi fountain! Randy is arrested so off goes his wedding plans. Not! Lana is convinced Randy is innocent. So it is up to her to prove his innocence and make sure the wedding happens on time.
Death by Fountain is the fifth book in Jennifer Alderson’s Travel Can Be Murder series.
Lana Hansen is a tour guide at Wanderlust Tours. She’s in Italy as a tour guide for Randy’s friends. Her boss, Dotty, planned a low-key tour for the friends before they were to be escorted to a secret wedding location. Initially, nobody knows why Randy and Gloria kept their wedding location a secret. When Rachel, Randy’s ex, arrives at the hotel, it is quite obvious that her stalker tendencies is what made the couple keep their wedding location a secret until the D-day.
When Jake, Randy’s friend arrives a couple of days late to the tour, he says “look who I met at the airport.” The mystery person is none other than Rachel! Randy is angry and picks up a fight with Rachel, pushing her to a wall, hurting her. Lana has never seen Randy get so violent before. Hours later, Randy is on his way to his wedding location – he was supposed to be at a bachelor’s party hosted by his friends but Rachel’s arrival called for a change in plans.
Lana sees Katherine, Rachel’s estranged sister and Randy’s friend, pick up a fight with Rachel. When Katherine walks away, Lana sees Rachel following Randy. And behind them is Jake. And… behind them is Heather. Goodness!
Also, when the friends first meet, it is pretty clear that Craig and Heather do their best (or, should I say worst?) to make their displeasure known. Seems like both of them do not want to wedding to happen! There is also a rumor that Heather has always been in love with Randy… Hmm. As the story proceeds, the ‘love affair’ turns out to be a polygon with n sides. You know what I mean? A is in love with B; B is in love with C. D is also in love with C. But C is obsessed with X! Phew!
Lana follows the ‘followers’ and is caught up in a heavy downpour. On her way back, she sees ambulances and police at the Trevi fountain. They are pulling someone out of the fountain – it is Rachel! The Italian Police are convinced Randy killed her and are not willing to investigate further. It is up to Lana to prove Randy’s innocence and make sure he and Gloria have a Christmas Wedding.
The crime does not happen until halfway through the book. Having read all the previous installments of this series, I knew the first half would be about ‘visual tour’ – which, in my opinion, is the best part of this series. There is sleuthing, all right. Lana is used to solving crimes now. But what’s different this time is, the suspects’ list consists of Randy’s friends.
As Lana starts to investigate, she learns of Randy’s accident and how Rachel was a part of it. Also, there’s the love polygon to consider. One cannot forget revenge as motive either. Rachel’s ‘mistake’ led to Randy falling from the ladder and hurting himself badly. (It cost him his job and health.)
Coming to the identity of the perp, we readers were given clues all along and it was not difficult to identify them. Having said that, I really loved the events that lead up to Lana finding the killer. Lots of sleuthing and skeletons tumbling out of the closet.
As I mentioned before, the visual tour is the best part of this series. Jennifer Alderson has traveled a lot and her love for travel is well-portrayed in this series. I have never been to Italy but after reading Death by Fountain, maybe it is time to pack my bags and book a ticket. Anybody wants to join me?
If you love traveling and love to read mysteries set in tourist places, you might to give Death by Fountain by Jennifer Alderson a read.