Title: Murder by Mudpack (Honey Driver Murder Mystery #6)
Author: Jean G. Goodhind
Published on: 1 August 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Murder by Mudpack is the sixth book in Jean Goodhind’s Honey Driver Murder Mystery series.
Honey Driver is asked to go undercover by her police inspector boyfriend Steve Doherty to help solve the recent and grisly drowning of a woman at the local spa. Honey starts to question the staff about the murder – discreetly disguised as a middle-aged-woman’s overly curious nature. But the two doctors who work there wonder if Honey’s a spy.
Meanwhile, a man arrives at Honey’s Green River Hotel to stay. Her daughter Lindsey has a doubt that he’s the Health Inspector. But the next day, he’s found dead in his room.
I hope this is the only Honey Driver Mystery that I will not like. I have been following this series from the start – the reprints were out over the past couple of months. I love the setting, the characters, the writing and the humor. But this book was a tad different and I did not like it as much as I wanted to.
I had high expectations when I started reading. After all, we have Honey Driver, Bath Hotels Association’s crime liaison officer going undercover to a local spa where an aristocratic lady was found dead. Police suspect she was murdered.
This story had a lot of potential. So many side stories and red herrings that could be explored further but alas! That didn’t happen. We have a Mr. and Mrs. Okinara staying at the hotel – they are antique dealers. We had so many ‘incidents’ featuring the Japanese couple but nothing concrete enough to make a mark.
Similarly, the story of the so-called Health Inspector. Well, Lindsey and the hotel’s chef Smudger assumed their latest guest was a health inspector. But there was a waiter who believed otherwise. This side story just ends abruptly when the guest is found dead the next day. It is in the later half of the book that Honey is told about his real identity. But the side story proceeds no where.
The previous book ended with Steve and Honey planning a romantic night. Murder by Mudpack begins with the duo in bed, talking about Honey’s latest assignment (as an undercover) and… um, well, you know the other stuff that lovers do. Throughout the story, it seems like Honey and Steve cannot get enough of each other. Honestly, this was getting a bit too much. Also, the sleuthing adventures seemed so boring and long, it felt as if Honey and Doherty were doing their jobs half-heartedly.
Then there is another side story which is explored in great detail but ends in a dud. Rodney (Clint Eastwood) works as a part-time dishwasher at Honey’s hotel. He’s in trouble with a goon from the Italian Mafia. Honey finds herself entangled in this mess – and the goon starts to follow Honey.
All these side stories only meant less emphasis on the main story – that of murder at the spa. Speaking of spa, the two doctors who work there cannot get enough of each other. And here I was, thinking Honey Driver series was a cozy mystery!
I am disappointment with this book. I was eagerly looking forward to read it but now that I have, I feel let down. As per Goodreads rating, two stars mean “It was OK”. And that’s exactly the kind of opinion I have about this one.