I will be honest; I had never heard of the Rose Strickland series before reading this book and was not familiar with the character, her exploits, or her friends. In fact when I got this book I didn’t even know it was a series at first, although the fact that it is becomes readily apparent while reading it. I will say I am happy I found this series and I plan on going back and picking up the first two books. I might know how those end, because they are both mentioned in this installment, but I am sure I will enjoy them all the same.
This book falls squarely in the “madcap non-investigator mystery” style book that I have seen popping up over the last few years. It reminded me strongly of the Stephanie Plum books from Janet Evanovich, although to be clear this was in no way derivative. Like that series this book is made more by its characters then the actual mystery. To Terri Austin’s credit what makes this series stand apart from its contemporaries is that it has all those traits but the mystery itself is also very good. It had some nice twists and I was genuinely engaged in finding out who killed Delia Cummings. That is always a good sign for a mystery.
While nearly every character in the book has an analog character in similar works, again such as the Stephanie Plum series, the relationship between Rose and Sullivan is very interesting. You don’t often see the protagonist and an expressed bad guy connected together in a mystery novel, but it works really well here. While they seem to be on opposite sides of the law morally, their relationship is totally believable and interesting.
What makes this book work is its sense of humor. From the dialogue to many of the situations the book is downright amusing. It’s not a laugh a minute mind you, but it kept me smiling for pretty much the entire book.