This month I read A Dark and Stormy Murder which is the first book in Julia Buckley’s A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery Series. This post is another in my (mostly) monthly series about the most popular and recommended Cozy Mystery series.
The book introduces us to Lena London, a young want-to-be author who is fresh out of school and also fresh out of a long term romantic relationship. As the story begins, Lena receives a call from one of her best friends, Allison, who lives in Blue Lake, Indiana. Allison happens to be in a Saturday morning knitting group with Camille Graham, Lena’s favorite author and idol. Allison had shared Lena’s unpublished novel (which was inspired by Camille’s writing) and Camille had loved it! Now Camille has a job proposal for Allison.
Before you know it, Lena has a job with Camille to work as her writing assistant (hence the “apprentice” in the series’ name) and has moved, with her cat Lestrade, to beautiful Blue Lake, Indiana to live with Camille in her old and mysterious mansion.
Suffice it to say that Lena is more than over the moon to be working with her idol in a job that is too good to be called her dream job – Lena had never dreamed so big!
Being a Cozy Mystery, before long and as expected, Lena discovers a body on the shore of Blue Lake not far from Camille’s house. This gives Lena the chance to get acquainted with the local (handsome) and available police detective, Doug. On her first day in Blue Lake, Lena also meets Camille’s mysterious (and also handsome) neighbor, Sam West.
Sam is a rich investor from New York City who is living in Blue Lake to avoid the spotlight of the big city since his estranged wife is missing under mysterious circumstances and Sam is generally suspected of having committed foul play towards her. As Lena gets to know Sam, she joins a very short list of people (which includes Camille) who believe that Sam had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance.
So the book entails Lena and Camille, sometimes with Doug’s assistance, trying to solve the mysterious murder near Camille’s house. And Lena also gets involved in trying to help Sam solve the mystery of his estranged wife’s disappearance.
With two mysteries to solve, a mysterious old mansion on the lake, strange noises around the house in the middle of the night, two handsome potential suitors, a cat and two dogs, and a charming small midwestern town, this book and series have just about all the elements that one could expect or want in a lovely Cozy Mystery read. I found A Dark and Stormy Murder to be a fun and light read — just the kind of book I like to curl up with on a chilly, rainy winter day.
I must warn you, however, that the book does not resolve all the mysteries that are presented. You will have to read at least one more book in the series to find out all the secrets. Since I enjoyed this book so much, I don’t have a problem with this, even though I’m not crazy about multiple book storyline arcs in my Cozies. I’m looking forward to finding out what Lena and Camille discover in the other books in the series.
If you’d like to see other entries about some of the most recommended Cozy Mystery authors, be sure to check out the Most Popular and Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.