Title: The Jane Austen Murders (A Honey Driver Murder Mystery #4)
Author: Jean G. Goodhind
Published on: 29 June 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Honey Driver is thrilled when two members of a film crew check in to her hotel and ask her if she’s interested in playing a role. Woohoo! Lindsey (Honey’s daughter) and Gloria (Honey’s mother) will also be playing a part in the movie.
The film’s leading actress, Martyna Manderley, picks up a fight with Honey before the shooting begins. No phones allowed on film sets but how was Honey to know that? It was six in the morning and freezing cold when Honey reached the set that morning. She had to make a phone call to her chef to wake him up. Honey might not be at Green River Hotel but her guests must eat, especially on a cold morning like this. Martyna saw Honey holding a phone and accused her of clicking pictures to send to a tabloid. They got into a cat fight. Meow!
A couple of hours later, Honey picks up a script from the chair and finds something sticky under it. It is red in color and definitely doesn’t smell like ketchup. At the same time, a woman runs into the set, screaming Martyna is lying dead in a pool of blood in her trailer. Honey is immediately ‘arrested’ by the guards present on the set. When Steve Doherty, local detective and Honey’s hunka-hunka arrives at the scene, he knows better than to arrest her for murder.
No, Steve is not giving special consideration to Honey. It’s just that alibi checks out. As Honey was at the scene of crime, she tells Steve she would help him in the investigations.
I have been following this series from the start. Joffe Books has republished five books (as of writing this post) of this series so far and each installment is a complete entertainment package. When I read the first book, I knew this was going to end up being one of my favorite mysteries.
Honey owns Green River Hotel in Bath. She has her daughter Lindsey helping out with the hotel chores and her bossy mother Gloria interfering in her non-existent love life. Gloria has tried to set Honey up with dentists and rich guys but Honey’s taste is a tad different. Detective Steve Doherty is a bad boy but sexy! Honey and Steve worked together – by chance, as Honey was appointed to be a civilian liaison for the Bath Hotels Association. They realized they are good together – on case and off… Hmm, well they are yet to have a hot date so maybe it is too early to say how good they are off case.
The Jane Austen Murders begins with Steve inviting Honey for a wild and crazy weekend. Hot Damn! But Honey refuses saying she’s playing a part in a Jane Austen movie that’s being filmed at Bath. But the next day, Honey picks up a fight with the main actress and gone is her one chance to star in a movie. All it was took was calling the main actress a professional tart. Yeowzza!
When the main actress’s body is found in her trailer, Steve arrives at the crime scene. A day or two later, Honey is visited by an old woman who claims her niece has gone missing from the film set. Honey tells her she would investigate, but Steve decides a mispers case doesn’t take precedence over a murder. So Honey starts the investigation on her own.
The actress’s fiancé is no good boy either. When his fiancée was getting murdered, he was sandwiched between two women… on bed. Hmm! There is no way he could have murdered Martyna, innit?
Btw, the name “Martyna Manderley reminded me of Art Vandelay from Seinfeld.
I absolutely enjoyed every bit of this story. We have recurring characters in ‘hilarious’ roles – for the Jane Austen movie, I mean. Take Casper for example: Casper St. John Gervais, chair of the Bath Hotels Association. His role in the Jane Austen movie is… any guesses? A Crossing Sweeper!! A Crossing Sweeper is someone who used to sweep the road – specifically after horses had passed. Ouch! Casper and horse manure, utter nightmare!
Gloria finds a man of her age quite interesting. Well, what starts on a movie set ends on a movie set. They decide to go on a hot date – the one that includes satin dresses and corsets. But the poor man died of a heart attack before he and Gloria could spend the night. Ouchy!
The mystery behind the murder and the missing person kept me guessing till the end. We also have Dick, a “I am the best chef ever’ at the set – and Honey doesn’t like him one bit. But she has to tolerate him, as he might have seen the killer. A generous dollop of humor made the story even more enjoyable. Sizzling chemistry between Steve and Honey – ooh la la! The ending – simply fantastic. I could not identify the killer until the end. Turns out, someone was pretty good at acting. Not Oscar worthy, but definitely gaol worthy.
If you are looking for an entertaining and completely engrossing mystery, you might want to give The Jane Austen Murders by Jean G. Goodhind a try. Though this book can be read as a standalone, I recommend you to start from book #1 – you don’t want to miss all the fun now, do you?
Previous books in this series:
Book #1: Murder, Bed & Breakfast
Book #2: Menu for Murder
Book #3: Walking with Murder