Murder by Lampshade by Jean G. Goodhind

Title: Murder by Lampshade (Honey Driver Murder Mystery #5)

Author: Jean G. Goodhind

Published on: 7 July 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Murder by Lampshade is the fifth book in Jean G. Goodhind’s Honey Driver Murder Mystery series.

Honey Driver has decided to give Green River Hotel a much needed makeover. Interior designer Phillipe Fabiere is hired for the job. He’s quite expensive, very busy and most-sought designer in Bath. But Honey wants the best for her hotel.

She and the workers are waiting for Phillipe to arrive at his scheduled time. But Phillipe doesn’t arrive. He never will… because he is lying dead in a bathroom at St. Margaret’s Court. Honey doesn’t know that until she calls Phillipe and is surprised to hear the voice on the other side – it’s Detective Steve Doherty.

Meanwhile, Gloria Cross (Honey’s mother) asks Honey to talk to her friend Cybil. Workers from the hotel (opposite to her house) have cut off the wires to her security cameras. Honey is asked to have a chat with the hotel authorities on behalf of Cybil.

Phillipe was to bring expensive 18th-century paintings to Green River Hotel on the day he was found dead. Honey learns from his business partner that the paintings have not yet arrived. What’s more shocking is, Phillipe’s storeroom seems to be empty. Someone has stolen all antiques from the storeroom.

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I read this book and the previous (The Jane Austen Murders) back-to-back. When I finished reading Jane Austen Murders, I saw the next book was available on KU. So I decided to do a binge reading of-sorts. I would really love to see this series made into a TV series. Quirky characters, whole lotta fun, a dash of sexy romance and whole lotta sleuthing adventures! What more can a mystery lover ask for?

The story begins with Honey waiting for Phillipe to arrive. When she calls him, she learns he’s found dead in a bathroom. Strangled with a ceramic toilet chain. What’s more mysterious about his death is, the bathroom was locked from inside. I haven’t come across a locked bathroom mystery before. Have you?

Mary Jane, a resident guest at Green River Hotel drives Honey to the crime scene. The St Margret’s Court guests are not allowed in as the hotel is a crime scene. Mary Jane tells them they can stay at Green River if they don’t mind the smell of paint. The staff are on a leave as Honey did not take reservations during the makeover. It is up to Honey and her daughter Lindsey to cater to the guests’ needs.

Honey asks Detective Doherty if she could help out. After all, she is a crime liaison appointed by the chief of Bath Hotels Association. He agrees as the victim was working for her. Honey wonders about the missing paintings while Steve tells her murder takes priority. It’s just ten-thousand pounds worth paintings, no big deal!

Two of the guests stand out from the rest – an elderly German couple. The husband ends up helping the painters in finishing their work at Green River Hotel while the wife is busy knitting her hats off. The clickety-clacket ‘racket’ of the knitting needles annoys Mary Jane. She first complains of the paint smell and how it is affecting the hotel’s resident ghost Sir Cedric. Then, the racket of the knitting needles annoys him once again. Sir Cedric might be an old ghost but he’s not deaf.

A waiter who was believed to be the last one to see Phillipe has gone missing too. Then there are Russians – Cybil believes they are up to something bad. Cybil hates foreigners so Honey pooh-poohs her claims about the mafia and whatnots.

I love twists, especially at the denouement stage. The twist in this story, however, wasn’t something that I was expecting. I did not like it either. I admit it was quite shocking, especially the identity of the killer and their reason for murders. But it did not make justice to the suspense built throughout. I felt I was let down.

Nevertheless, when it comes to enjoyment factor, this story gets almost full marks. The character development is excellent – especially of the recurring characters – Steve and Honey make some advancement in their non-existent love life. Gloria Cross and Mary Jane seem to be the new friends in town.

I am looking forward to knowing what’s next for Honey Driver and Steve Doherty. Is dating on cards? Wedding bells in the near future? Only time will tell…

Previous books in this series:

Book #1: Murder, Bed & Breakfast

Book #2: Menu for Murder

Book #3: Walking with Murder

Book #4: The Jane Austen Murders

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