Title: Till Daph Do Us Part (Daphne Jones Mysteries #1)
Author: Phillipa Nefri Clark
Published on: 30 August 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Daphne Jones adores her new career as a travelling celebrant, visiting a different small town every week to marry happy couples or help with sad goodbyes.
But it isn’t supposed to be both at the same time.
When a member of a bridal party is found face down in the swimming pool just minutes after the wedding, Daphne’s sleuthing instincts kick in. She does not believe the victim’s death was accidental. Old family feuds, resentful relatives and a ‘black widow’ – there are plenty of suspects but none of them want Daphne to poke her nose where it does not belong.
Till Daph Do Us Part is the first book in Phillipa Nefri Clark’s Daphne Jones Mystery series.
The story begins with Daphne running after the killer. She has them cornered – finally! It was no piece of cake, though. She’s out of breath but wants to know why they committed such a heinous crime. Then comes flashback – from Daphne officiating the wedding to murder victim to murder investigation to present.
Though a first in the series, there wasn’t a lot of character introduction or series-plot setting. We directly dive into Daphne’s life – her job as a celebrant and then, sleuthing. When Daphne first arrives at the house of the bride, she meets the bridezilla. Lisa is getting married for the third time and she’s venting out her frustration on her mum.
Lisa’s parents are no better, as Daphne soon learns. They make snide remarks about their daughter’s previous husbands – two; both dead. On the wedding day, the groom comments something – on the lines of the bride being the first to ‘death do us part’ as she’s older than him. Some time later, he’s found dead in the swimming pool.
Daphne learns of the family feud between the Brookers and the Tannings – this has been going on for over a hundred years. Lisa Brooker married into the Tanning family – thrice. And all three times, her husbands met with an untimely death.
Daphne knows she has to investigate. Her husband John is by her side, supporting her in any possible way – from consoling her when one of the Brooker family chides her to being by her side when the local police questions her involvement in the wedding/crime.
I did not like the main character, Daphne. She was, in a way, obsessed with solving the crime. And her relationship with John (her husband) – too cheesy and clingy for my liking. Daphne always finds herself in tears and John lends his shoulder to lean on, John is always praising Daphne – from her baked goodies to her job to everything else. Daphne is the best wife ever. Ugh! It was getting a bit too mushy for my taste.
The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. The list of suspects is long and none of them are cooperative. Well, they do not have to cooperate with Daphne, she’s no police or P.I. The local police initially do not want Daphne to investigate their case for them but as the story proceeds, they find Daphne’s views quite helpful.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I might have not liked the main character but the murder mystery was good.