Title: Tied Up With Strings
Author: Madeline McEwen
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Big mysteries often come in small packages…
When curmudgeonly private detective Betty Grape visits a young friend, who is housesitting in a remote village in England for Christmas vacation, something seems out of place. Her friend, Catia, is visibly nervous. Is she worried about the young men in the decrepit caravan in next door’s back garden? Or is Catia involved in the disappearance of the homeowner’s invalid wife?
As an American, Betty discovers the locals are full of friendly gossip but taciturn about solid facts. Though they are determined to keep Betty from butting in on their territory, she blunders through the social morass of narrow-minded foreigners and their broad Dorset accents. Can she unravel the tight knots of this mystery? Will she find the perpetrator under thickly thatched roofs or behind floral chintz curtains?
American Betty Grape has just arrived in England to spend Christmas with her dear friend’s daughter, Catia. When she arrives, something seems off, almost like Catia is nervous around her. Chalking it up to Catia still grieving over the suicide of her boyfriend, she lets the feeling slide. Catia is house-sitting for a professor and his wheelchair-bound wife, which explains the cottage’s dirty appearance. The more Betty’s around Catia, the more she feels Catia is hiding something. Can it have something to do with the two men in the caravan? Betty dons her private detective cap and gets to work unraveling the mysteries. Will she solve the mysteries in time or will she be all tied up in strings?
Tied Up With Strings is a delightful cozy mystery with intriguing characters, a few mysteries to solve and how difficult it is to blend in. The introduction of an autistic character was a great way for the author to show people on the autistic spectrum live healthy, productive lives. The mysteries, while all connected, took me awhile to figure out. Maybe it was just me but it seemed like it was too hidden, too cerebral for this mystery fan to figure out what was going on. The ending, while revealing some plot twists, didn’t reveal them all. Maybe this is the author’s way of starting a series. Who knows? I would’ve liked more closure.
If you love British cozies with a whip-smart senior amateur detective, you’ll love Tied Up With Strings.
Favorite Character/Quote: Betty. I connected with her right away and found her bluntness with the British folk quite humorous. She’s an American trying to fit in while garnering information from the townfolk of a quaint British town.
My Rating: 4.5 stars
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Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer's. In her free time, she walks the canines and chases the felines with her nose in a book and her fingers on a keyboard.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N