Mayhem at the Orient Express by Kylie Logan

League of Literary Ladies, #1

At a local Chinese restaurant, it's the owner who gets taken out...

Most folks aren't forced by court order to attend a library-book discussion group, but that’s just what happens to B and B proprietor and ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright, hippy cat lover Chandra Morrisey, and winery owner Kate Wilder after a small-town magistrate has had enough of their squabbling. South Bass, an island on Lake Erie, is home to an idyllic summer resort, but these three ladies keep disturbing the peace.

The initial book choice is Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and that sets their mouths to watering. The Orient Express is the island’s newest Chinese restaurant. They might not agree about much, but the ladies all love the orange chicken on the menu. But their meal is spoiled when the restaurant’s owner, Peter Chan, has the bad fortune of getting murdered. Now, with Christie as their inspiration, the League of Literary Ladies has a real mystery to solve…if they can somehow catch a killer without killing each other first.

"What's left to say after you've found a body with three of your not-best friends?"

As cute as the synopsis promised it would be. A funny, great group of eccentric people are forced to join a book club to save the judge’s wife’s ailing library grant. When they’re all pushed together during a snowstorm in the main character’s newly bought and renovated Inn, they work together to solve the mystery of the local restaurant owner.

There are plenty of nods to Hercule Poirot since the club decides to read the Christie Classic Murder on the Orient Express. Okay sure, one just watched the movie and can’t pronounce the detective’s name to save her life, which just makes the whole thing funnier.

Several suspects with convincing reason to be behind the dastardly deed come to light, making it a layered mystery that kept me wondering. There aren’t red herrings but there are plenty of convincing trails to follow. There’s a neat twist with the culprit that I never saw coming either. I can’t complain any about clues left, suspects introduced, or crime scenes explored in their amusing ways.

There’s a potential and actually non-boring love interest brewing too. Many times in cozies there’s something missing without a possible love interest, but usually the future boyfriend is rather bland – not the case here. They have the sarcastic exchange thing going on so I’m curious.

I love the main character too. She’s a bit self-absorbed but this was supposed to be another funny trait. Being flawed helps keep her interesting enough to connect with. The nutsy neighbor with the incense and chanting music was the funniest of the group, but the entire group worked together well.

Throw in a Bed and Breakfast, small town, books, Agatha Christie, parties, and cats peeing on flowers – will definitely be considering this series. If I enjoy the others as much as this one, it will be a top favorite cozy mystery series.

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