Title: The Vintage Vendetta (Secondhand Sleuth Mysteries #1)
Author: Mel Morgan
Published on: 9 May 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Jessica Braun’s life has come to a standstill. Her husband has walked away and her dead-end job has run out of road. She receives an invitation to her late aunt’s midnight funeral. So Jessica packs her bags and goes to Minnesota, her grandparents’ place where her late aunt Daphne resided until her death.
Daphne’s lawyer tells Jesse that the councilman is angry and if Jess does not clear the mess at her aunt’s place, the house will be acquired by the town council. Jess does not understand what the fuss is all about until she reaches the place. The porch and the front is filled with knickknacks. Seems like Aunt Daphne’s thrift store scavenging ended up as a buy-all-that-you-see spree.
Jess learns from Daphne’s neighbor that Daphne’s death was mysterious – she was quite healthy until the tea party. She fell sick after drinking tea so is it possible that her tea was poisoned? An angry next-door neighbor might be Daphne’s murderer. Or, one of the townspeople – some had a grudge on Daphne.
This is one of the books I borrowed from KU as a part of my keep-up-with-cozy-debuts spree. At 145 pages, The Vintage Vendetta by Mel Morgan is an okay start to a brand new series. I suppose this book would have been more enjoyable if it was a full-length novel.
First things first, be it a novella or a full-length novel, character portrayal plays a major role in my rating decision. Jesse is not all that likable. She moves to Minnesota and is pretty clueless as to what happens next. Her mum is not responding to her call and Uncle Rick – well, god knows where he is.
Then there is the midnight funeral – Aunt Daphne was a little weird but nobody knows why she insisted on a midnight funeral. Also, there was some kind of disgusting tea served at the funeral and nobody was happy about it. Ah, the very weird late Aunt Daphne. I wish there was some background on reasons for a midnight funeral and the tea served. Anyhoo…
Jesse’s neighbor Kate and her teenage daughter Freddie come over to introduce themselves. Freddie and Jesse decide to solve the mystery behind aunt Daphne’s death. Uncle Rick also arrives on the scene – some side story here which did not make a lot of sense. It would have, if the character introduction was detailed and the story a tad longer.
Jesse ends up suspecting everyone – from the angry neighbor to Uncle Rick. The local deputy suspects Jesse of murdering her own aunt. Jesse is angry that the deputy is incompetent and there is no Sheriff in town. Or rather, the Sheriff is, in fact, a great Dane!!!
Maybe, this was supposed to be a humorous cozy but I did not like it much. The humorous part of it was not all that funny or quirky. The characters were just okay, nothing great. The ending seemed hurried up.
Uncle Rick, Freddie and Jesse know for certain that one of the townspeople is the perp and go to his house to collect evidence. The man catches them red-handed and something from his conversation tells Jesse he’s not the perp. Since the deputy is bent on proving Jesse as a perp, she ‘confesses to murdering her aunt’ and asks him to come over to a certain place to arrest her. And when he does, she hands over the real perp… Confess to the crime for the sake of catching the real perp, that’s new!
Overall, this was an okay read but I don’t think I would be following the series.
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