Title: Walking with Murder (Honey Driver Murder Mystery Series #3)
Author: Jean G. Goodhind
Published on: 10 April 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Honey driver agrees, rather grudgingly, to join a friend (Mary Jane) on a ghost walk across the crescents and terraces of historic Georgian Bath. One of the walkers arrives at the last minute – Lady Templeton-Jones. She’s quite old and needs a walking stick for support. As the group of ghost walkers venture into the alleys on this rainy day, Honey and Lady Templeton-Jones drag along.
Honey is not all that old – unless you consider 40s as ‘old age.’ Her sneakers are completely soaked in rain and the lace unties every now and then, leaving Honey behind from the ghost walking group. Honey finds herself in a dark alley and believes the grumpy Lady is following her. But she isn’t. Finally, Honey manages to catch up with the group at a pub but Lady Templeton-Jones is nowhere to be seen. The Lady has left her handbag at the pub and had promised Honey she would move to Green River Hotel (Honey’s the owner) that same evening. So Honey takes the Lady’s handbag home. But Lady Templeton-Jones never arrived at the hotel… She was found dead in a dusty antiques shop the next day.
Walking with Murder is the third book in Jean G. Goodhind’s Honey Driver Murder Mystery series. This book was previously published as Walking with Ghosts. Set in the historic town of Bath, quirky characters, a dash of humor and a mystery that keeps one guessing till the end are the spotlights of this series.
The story begins with Hannah ‘Honey’ Driver reluctantly agreeing to a ghost walk with Mary Jane. Mary Jane is a permanent guest at Honey’s Green River Hotel – Mary Jane claims she’s a direct decent of Sir Cederic who haunts the hotel room which she currently occupies. It’s Mary Jane’s birthday and Honey wants to be a nice host and make sure Mary Jane is happy. But the ghost walk turns into a disaster. First, it’s pouring and yet the ghost walk is on schedule. Next, a grumpy old lady who calls herself Lady Templeton-Jones is on the tour. Third, Honey’s sneakers are completely soaked in the rain and it is quite uncomfortable to walk.
Lady Templeton-Jones disappears halfway through the tour. She had told Honey she would be moving to Green River Hotel soon after the tour ends. But she never arrives. And Honey has her handbag. So the next day, Honey goes to the local police station and talks to the duty desk sergeant about the handbag. Meanwhile. Steve Doherty, the handsome hunk of a detective, is called to a crime scene. An old lady is found hanged in a dusty antiques shop. The label on her dress says ‘Lady Templeton-Jones.’
Ooh mama, this particular installment of the series sees a lot of development in the personal lives of the recurring characters. Gloria Cross, Honey’s mother, runs a secondhand clothes store called Secondhand Rose. She is going through a business trouble – which is not revealed until the second half of the book. Well, Honey is to be ‘blamed’ for ignoring her old and frail (NOT!) mother’s calls – Gloria can be a pain-in-the-backside at times, you see….
Honey decides to go out in the night and sees Steve (with whom she has a sizzling chemistry-ish) jogging with a blonde. Ooh, trouble in paradise! Well, Steve and Honey are not exclusive but Honey does feel a tinge of jealousy surging through her veins when she sees Steve with an attractive woman.
Meanwhile, Lindsey, Honey’s daughter, is dating a musician who plays bagpipes and wears kilts. Then there is a strange motorcycle rider who is always around the hotel. To avoid Steve and the blonde, Honey climbs onto the motorcycle and is taken for a ride. Quite literally! This ‘incident’ makes Honey wonder why did she take such a rash decision to ride pillion on a stranger’s bike.
Well, Honey is all-things-quirky-and-crazy, you see. She has a nagging mother to tolerate, a fizzled-out (perhaps) romance with Steve, her role as a crime liaison officer for the Bath Hotels Association, her mornings with short-tempered chef Smudger and his last minute lists, and of course, a murder to solve.
For a cozy mystery, this story certainly had a lot of deaths – four to be precise – three of which occur in the second half of the book. Also, the investigation seemed to be going in circles – first, the interview with all the ghost walk participants, then Lady Templeton-Jones’ real identity (seems a title can be bought online for as low as 300 bucks) and something to do with antiques from RMS Titanic that has appeared in a shop or two in Bath.
Plenty of red herrings and loads of quirky humor but I did not enjoy this book as much as I did with the first two installments. Things were going round and round and there were times when I just wanted the story to end. The mystery behind the murder(s) was good though. Kept me guessing but the chase got a bit boring at the end. Also, the biker guy’s role was a little confusing and the revelation of his identity did not make sense.
Overall, Walking with Murder by Jean G. Goodhind was an okay read. Not the best in this series but I certainly hope the next book is a smashing hit. It better be!