Review: The Moving Finger (Miss Marple #4) by Agatha Christie

The Moving FingerThe Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading an Agatha Christie novel is such a fun experience and comfortable place for me. I enjoy these classic mysteries so, so much. They never get old!

One of my 2023-Reading Goals is to read all of the full-length novels in the Miss Marple series in order.

Even though I am a little behind my initial ‘one-per-month’ goal, I still think I stand a great chance of completing these all this year. The Moving Finger is the third novel in the series and I found it an absolute delight!

In this story we follow Jerry Burton, who after an unfortunate accident relocates himself, along with his sister, Joanna, to the little village of Lymstock to recuperate from his injuries.

The idea is that the quiet village life will be the perfect setting for him to relax and heal. Little do the siblings know that quiet villages often hold the most sinister secrets and dastardly deeds.

Not long after their arrival, the Burtons receive a poison pen letter; basically, the troll comments of their time.

The letter accuses them of terrible things, of living together and not actually being brother and sister…

It’s not true of course and they’re quite curious as to who would hold such vitriol against them. They just moved to Lymstock, after all, they hardly know anybody. Who would be so crass?

Soon it becomes clear that Jerry and Joanna were not the only victims. People throughout the village received similar vicious letters, all accusing the recipients of different horrible things.

At first, it seems more a nuisance than anything else, but then one goes a step too far and a woman ends up taking her own life after receiving one of the letters.

The village is in shock. The letters have to be coming from one of their own, but who?

As the Reader, you follow along as Jerry and Joanna become more ingrained in the town and the families living there. Jerry is determined to weed out the culprit.

This was so much fun. I loved getting to know the people in the town, hearing their stories and watching how they were all connected.

Village life is so interesting to me. There is a deep history in such places and many of the families living there are connected in ways that might not be apparent upon first glance. I love parsing all that out.

It was interesting to me that Miss Marple doesn’t appear until about 75% of the way through this novel. Yet she still plays a major role in the solving of the crime.

It felt like more of a cameo than a starring role, but somehow, Christie made it work. Not only that, she made this feel like a true part of the series. We’re just watching Marple’s crime-solving resume grow and I’m here for it.

Christie fooled me in this one. I had a few different theories, but I actually didn’t guess who was actually behind it all.

It all made sense once she laid it out, but yeah, I definitely didn’t see it coming. I wasn’t working super hard to try to figure it out, but she definitely successfully distracted me while the truth was hiding right under my nose.

I also really loved Jerry as a character. He got more than he bargained for during his period of recuperation, but it certainly turned out well for him in the end.

I am so looking forward to starting the next book in the series, A Murder is Announced. I’ve heard incredible things about it and can’t wait to see what new mystery awaits!!

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Review: The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3) by Agatha Christie

The Body in the LibraryThe Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Body in the Library is the second full-length novel in Agatha Christie’s beloved, Miss Marple series.

One of my 2023-reading goals, is to read all of the novels in this series in order. This is actually one of the ones I have previously read, but I was still so excited to pick it up again.

It has been a decade since I last read it, so I was due for a reread. It’s so funny, too, because somehow in the interim, I had totally rearranged the plot of this novel in my mind.

For example, I was thinking the body was found in the library at the tail-end of a dinner party, but that isn’t the case at all. I’m like, where the heck did I come up with that?

This story actually kicks off with Mrs. Bantry being awoken by her maid, Mary, letting her know, through sobs, that a dead body of a girl has been discovered in their library.

At first, Mrs. Bantry thinks she is dreaming. How the heck would a dead body have ended up in her home? She alerts her husband, Colonel Arthur Bantry, of the news. From that moment on, it’s off to the races.

Seriously, Christie wastes zero time with this one. The discovery of the body is announced on page 2.

Colonel and Mrs. Bantry have no idea who the young woman is. She certainly wasn’t an invited guest. From first glance, she doesn’t appear the type of girl who would be privy to their same social circle.

The authorities are notified, of course, but Mrs. Bantry also calls on her friend, Miss Jane Marple, who knows a lot about this sort of thing. A swift and vigorous investigation begins.

I really enjoyed getting to know the players involved in this one. There was such a great mix of people and getting to the bottom of the mystery was a wild ride.

Again, Miss Marple is sort of a side character at this point, but her reputation definitely proceeds her. She is known for being quite observant and knowing a lot about these types of things; crime and psychology.

I liked having Inspector Slack around again for the investigation and getting to know even more individuals in the greater-St. Mary Mead area.

This is such a classic. The vibe is just quintessential Murder Mystery set in a small village. It exudes what we’ve come to know as, Cozy Mystery.

Finally, I loved Miss Marple’s explanation of the hows/whys of this crime, and getting to that point was equally as fun.

Overall, I am certainly glad I reread this. It was fun to read hot on the heels of my read of The Murder at the Vicarage: A Miss Marple Mystery.

I am really looking forward to continuing on with this series and completing it all this year!!

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Review: The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the VicarageThe Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 2022, William Morrow released new editions for the entire Miss Marple series. Each one features a beautiful floral design matched with stunning color combinations.

Like a Publisher’s dream, I promptly bought the entire set. Then with all of these precious new softcovers in hand, I thought, when I am going to read all of these?

Since there are twelve full-length novels, I told myself, very sternly I might add, that I would read one per month for all of 2023. That sounds like a solid plan, right?

Well, it would have been, but then I put off starting the first one until March; now I am behind and the pressure is on…

I have to say though, after completing this one, I am reinvigorated in my quest to read all of Miss Marple’s novels in order. This was such a fun time.

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first full-length novel in the series and I was actually surprised that Miss Marple is not the MC/narrator. The Vicar, Leonard Clement, is!

I don’t know why I didn’t know that, but I liked it a lot. It was fun to get to know the icon, Miss Jane Marple, from an outside perspective. You get her pluses and her minuses. A more honest interpretation, you could say.

I really enjoyed the mystery of this. It was completely engaging from the start. The murdered man, one Colonel Protheroe, was a bit of curmudgeon. He was a Judge and definitely had more enemies than friends. Even the Vicar had a cross word for him a time or two.

After Protheroe is murdered at the Vicarage, the entire village of St. Mary Mead seems to become involved in the investigation.

As you can imagine, no other citizen has more to offer in the solving of said crime than our Miss Marple. That woman misses nothing, usually because she’s spying on everyone from the comfort of her garden.

It was interesting for me to consider how the tropes involved in this story are all fairly well-known tropes today, but at this time, it wasn’t quite like that. It sort of all began with Christie, you know?

Her work has influenced so many creators over the years and her formulaic writing style is the epitome of a classic mystery. I love it. I found this to be so comfortable and fun, it was like a warm drink on an eerie night.

I am definitely continuing on with the series straight away. Next up is The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery, which will be a reread for me.

It’s actually one of my favorite Christie’s that I have read, so I am really excited to revisit it with my stunning new edition!!

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Review: Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for MurderersVera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Sixty-year old, Vera Wong, is a widow, mother and owner of a small, rarely visited, tea shop in San Francisco.

Vera, adheres to a strict schedule, and can be opinionated when it comes to other’s lives and scheduling, particularly her son, Tilly. For example, if you aren’t up by 4-4:30 a.m., you’re basically wasting the day away.

As our story begins, you get to meet Vera and learn all about her little peccadilloes from her perspective. I loved her from the very start. She’s perfect.

Vera’s ordered world is suddenly turned upside down when one morning she discovers the body of a deceased man inside her tea shop!

Suspecting she will do a better job than the police, Vera decides to take the investigation into her own hands. The police don’t seem to suspect foul play, but Vera knows, something funny is going on here.

Through a random series of events, Vera comes up with four likely suspects: Julia, the dead man’s wife, Rikki, Sana and Oliver, the dead man’s twin brother. She then inserts herself into the suspect’s lives, because how else is she going to determine which one is guilty?!

Thus, her super-stealthy, and by that I mean over-the-top, often hilarious, slightly-meddling, yet well-intentioned, investigation begins.

I really, really enjoyed this story. The cast of characters, led by Vera, was truly the highlight for me. They were all relatable people, who ended up bonding with Vera in their own ways and for their own distinct reasons.

Vera was definitely a force to be reckoned with. She has such a big heart, is quirky as heck, sweetly innocent in many ways, but also willing to bulldoze anyone in pursuit of her goals. When Vera tells you to jump, you ask how high.

I loved learning about the characters and watching their relationships develop. It was like they all needed support and ended up, through these unfortunate circumstances, finding exactly what they needed.

The overall story was cute, cozy and heart-warming. At times, I did wish for a slightly more intriguing Mystery to help propel the plot, but the found family elements were so strong, it more than made up for that, in my opinion.

I always feel like I connect well with Sutanto’s humor and characters. I just really enjoy her writing style. It’s become such a comfort for me and she is an auto-buy author because of that.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As expected, this was super fun and cute! I cannot wait to pick up more from this author in the future.

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Review: The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

The Golden SpoonThe Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll admit to being a little bemused by The Golden Spoon in the beginning of the book. I went into this expecting a Cozy Mystery set against the backdrop of a baking competition, and while I got the baking competition and I got the cozy vibes, where was the mystery?

Where was the murder?

We get introduced to the contestants and the hosts. We learn a bit about the beautiful property hosting the competition. Over time, a bit of a historical mystery is revealed, a possible murder. I thought, is this it?

Nevertheless, even without me noticing it at first, Maxwell did something great here. She pulled me in with her character work and setting alone. It didn’t even take long. By 20% in, I was hooked with these characters. I was intrigued.

The cooking competition itself is quite reminiscent of The Great British Bake Off. If you’re a fan of that show, as I am, there is no way you are going to read this and not picture everything about that show in your head.

In fact, the two judges of the competition in this book are basically Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

The biggest difference is the setting is a stately property, Grafton Manor, in Vermont versus the UK. The competition itself does take place in a tent though, so hurrah!

I loved the competition aspect and getting all the perspectives of the contestants was so much fun. Learning their motivations and insecurities as they set about their bakes each day made it easy to get to know them.

I also really enjoyed some of the relationships that developed among the contestants. Being thrown into the competition, it would make sense for them to bond a bit over their shared circumstances.

Of course there will always be some drama too, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a competition after all, but I did appreciate some of the special friendships that were formed.

Particularly lovely to me was the odd couple of Lottie and Pradyumna. Lottie, the oldest contestant, and Pradyumna, a younger tech millionaire, a real playboy, the two of them together, oh my word, they made me so happy.

As far as the show went, everything that could possibly go wrong pretty much did. The competition itself is only 5-days, but man, they packed a lot in. Early into the competition, it’s clear there may be a saboteur in their midst, but who and why?

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this. It doesn’t follow your standard Cozy Mystery format, but in spite of that, the vibes are there and the cast of characters is fantastic.

I loved that this slow burn paid off with building intensity and a satisfying conclusion in the end. I’m not sure if we will ever see these characters again, but I certainly hope so. Maybe we’ll even get a fresh season of competition.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I’m really looking forward to reading more from Jessa Maxwell in the future!

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Review: Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan #3) by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan, #3)Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another thrilling, fun-filled, action packed, over-the-top adventure with my favorite gal pals, Finlay and Vero!!

In this 3rd-installment of the beloved Finlay Donovan Mystery series, Finlay and Vero pack their bags and head to a recently developed Citizen’s Police Academy.

Nick, Finlay’s potential love interest, is the cop in charge of the program and many of his departmental friends are there acting as instructors. Finlay is under the guise of researching her next book, but we all know how true that is.

She’s actually there to try to find the mysterious character, Easy Clean. But like, yeah, she does actually need to finish that book. Will her protagonist get together with the cop?

As you can imagine, Finlay and Vero’s time living in dorms, attending classes where they get put through police training along with Finlay’s elderly neighbor, some over-enthusiastic podcasters and others, will not be without its hijinks.

There’s so much going on in this one. Finlay’s ex-husband is circling around, trying to make amends, which Finlay wants no part of. Vero’s past gets brought up in a big way and mob boss, Feliks isn’t quite done with the ladies yet.

The Finlay Donovan series is one of my favorite Cozy Mystery series ever. The main reasons for that are the characters and the humor.

Finlay has such a dry sense of humor. I absolutely love the way she describes everything going on around her and her feelings about it. I’m seriously in stitches half the time.

I have listened to the entire series on audio and definitely recommend that medium. At this point, the narrator, Angela Dawe, is Finlay Donovan to me. Her voice-work in that role is top notch!

The relationship between Finlay and Vero is perfect as well. They’re so in deep together at this point. I love how even though, they are pretty different when you think about it, they are fully committed to one another and their friendship benefits them both equally.

The ending of this leads me to believe there will absolutely be a fourth installment. I’m not sure how many books are slated to be in this series, but I will be reading them all. Each and every one. Happily and with excitement.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I have been so excited for this release and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun is available now!!!

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Review: Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle by Terrie Farley Moran

Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle (Murder She Wrote Book 56)Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When Jessica is asked to fill-in for a friend who is unable to attend a book conference at which she was set to speak, Jess graciously accepts, because that’s the type of woman Jessica Fletcher is. She’s helpful to her friends.

That’s why where her long-time Cabot Cove neighbor, Maeve O’Bannon, asks her to do her a favor while attending said conference, Jess agrees to that too.

The conference is in Belfast, Northern Ireland, very close to the village Maeve’s family hails from, Bushmills.

Maeve has in her possession some beautiful landscapes her Grandfather painted of Bushmills. As Maeve nears the final chapter of her life, and with no family stateside to bequeath the paintings to, she asks Jessica to take them and present them to her remaining family members in Bushmills.

In Belfast, Jessica attends the book event, then is picked-up by an O’Bannon family friend and escorted the rest of the way to Bushmills.

The O’Bannon family is well-known and well-off as owners of a very successful skincare/cosmetics line. Their company is currently in negotiations to merge with a similar French company. They have a lot going on.

The friendly family greets Jessica with kindness and welcomes her whole-heartedly, inviting her along to parties and other family gatherings.

The morning after one of these gatherings, as Jessica is taking a solo-tour of the village via bicycle, she comes across a vehicle, parked in a strange location with a man slumped over the steering wheel.

It turns out it is Michael O’Bannon, one of Maeve’s cousins, a local doctor. He is dead!

Of course this is before Jessica has had a chance to present the paintings to the family and now it would be in ill-taste to do so. They’ve got more important things to worry about now, having just lost a loved one.

Jessica agrees to stay on in Bushmills until the matter is settled. While she’s there, she might as well solve the murder. This is Book #56, people. You know how Jessica is.

Y’all, this was exactly the kind of cozy, simple, nostalgic mystery I needed right now. The holidays can get stressful. It felt so nice sitting and getting swept into this story.

It was comforting to be reunited with Jessica and I loved going along with her as she explored the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland.

While this wasn’t the most captivating Murder, She Wrote mystery that I have ever read, I still really enjoyed it.

I loved the setting and the idea of the O’Bannon family and their business. It was also pleasing to see Jessica get along with and aiding local law enforcement.

Additionally, Jessica met a bit of a protege in this one. A girl named Maggie, who worked at the Inn where Jessica stayed in Bushmills.

I loved Maggie. She was gungho to help Jessica look into Michael’s death and she was good at it. I would love to see her again in a future installment. That would be so fun!

I’m really pleased with this series in the hands of Terrie Farley Moran. I think she has done a great job channeling the original tone of the series. I hope she continues on with it for a long time to come.

Murder, She Wrote is my number one comfort series and I will continue to pick them up as long as they are published! Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle is releasing on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

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Review: The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club #2) by Richard Osman

The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club, #2)The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


After reading The Thursday Murder Club last month, I knew I needed to continue with this series right away.

I fell in love with the characters, the retirement community setting and the compelling mystery that played out.

The Man Who Died Twice is the second book of the series and dare I say, I enjoyed it even more than the first, which I loved. It seems the more time I spend with these characters, the more invested I become.

In this story we are reunited with Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim, shortly after the events of Book 1. The impetus to this adventure is Elizabeth receiving a letter from an old colleague/flame, who finds himself in a bit of a bind and is hoping for her assistance.

There’s $20,000,000 in diamonds and mobsters involved, of course, because what fun would it be otherwise?

We meet Douglas, the old flame, along with his partner Poppy. Ibrahim has a scary run in outside of Cooper’s Chase that makes him reevaluate everything. Donna and Chris are actively trying to nab a local drug lord.

There’s a lot going on, but all of the varying plot-lines blended together perfectly. Osman made it comfortable to read and engaging throughout.

I never had times were I was in one perspective wishing to get back to another, which can happen with stories that switch perspectives frequently.

Elizabeth, Joyce and their friendship were again the stars of the show for me, although I do really love everyone.

Additionally, I feel like we got to know Donna and Chris, the local detectives who have befriended the Murder Club, a bit more. I really enjoy both of their characters. Donna is struggling a bit with her place in life and Chris’s new relationship with Donna’s mother, Patrice.

I actually felt it was important for us to hear her struggles. I liked to see that vulnerability from her. It made her relationships with the people in the Murder Club seem that much more important now. I get it, Donna. I see you.

It was also so fun having more Bogdan. Bogdan, a Polish man of many useful talents, helps around Cooper’s Chase and in this one, is particularly helpful to Elizabeth. Their relationship is so special.

I guess you can probably spot the theme here. Even though this is a super fun mystery, at it’s heart this is a story of people making their way in the world and the special bonds they’ve formed with one another.

It has filled my heart reading both of these books and I’m so looking forward to picking up the third!

I definitely recommend this series and highly recommend the audiobooks. The narration is fabulously done and overall, it’s just a super engaging listening experience!!

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Review: Death at the Auction by E.C. Bateman

Death at the AuctionDeath at the Auction by E.C. Bateman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death at the Auction is the first book in what I am hoping will be a long-running Cozy Mystery series.

This story follows Felicia Grant. Felicia’s family owns a popular Auction House in her home village of Stamford. After a falling out with her father over the direction of the business, Felicia left the auction-life behind and moved to London, along with her son, Algernon.

When Felicia gets an early-morning call from her best friend, Cassie, back in Stamford, she knows it can’t be good news and it’s not.

Her father has had a fall. He’s okay, but pretty banged up and he’ll be unable to auctioneer at the auction set for that very day. Felicia is the only one with the knowledge and expertise to successfully fill in. There’s a lot on the line; a lot of money they can’t afford to lose.

Can she come right away?

Felicia agrees, packs Algie and off they go. She’s full of competing emotions as she heads to Stamford. It’s been a while. There’s estranged relationships to consider.

Additionally, she’s been out of the business for quite some time. Will her auctioneering skills have suffered?

Once the auction begins, Felicia slips into her old role with ease. It’s actually nice to see so many familiar faces and the buzz of the sale is contagious.

All is going swimmingly right up until the final lot. As it is open for bids, Felicia’s exuberant ex-husband Dexter bursts in, interrupting the entire process and then a body falls out of a large antique cupboard set at the back of the room.

The very dead body of one of her Dad’s greatest rivals.

As investigators begin to look into the crime, Felicia, Dexter and a whole-host of locals find themselves as suspects. Felicia, unable to leave well-enough alone, decides to do a little digging of her own. She’s determined to clear her name and lift the cloud from over the auction house.

Death at the Auction was a ton of fun. I loved the setting and the characters. It’s definitely a great start to a new series. I can’t wait to get to know them more.

Felicia was so great as a main. She’s extremely likable and I found her feelings and motivations easy to understand and relate to. The other characters were interesting as well.

Dexter, her ex, is quite the minx, adding a bit of humor to the story. Their son is sweet, precocious and wise beyond his years. There’s also Detective Pettifer, the intrepid investigator trying to get to the bottom of this mess.

One of the highlights for me was the relationship that develops between Felicia and Pettifer. He seems to take a bit of a shine to her and the two interact fairly frequently over the course of the investigation.

There’s definitely a budding friendship and I could totally see him consulting her on future cases. I loved their back-and-forth and the trust that started to build between them.

I also really enjoyed Felicia’s relationships with all of her family members. Her son is such a sweetheart. He’s very quiet, yet inquisitive. He sort of does what he likes, but I feel like it’s because Felicia has the confidence in him to give him a bit of independence.

Dexter and Felicia also have great banter and it was fun watching her interact with her grumpy Dad after such a long time. I want more!

Some of the extraneous variables of the mystery I found a little hard to track, but overall I had so much fun with this. It’s a great foundation to build many more mysteries from. I am certainly looking forward to being reunited with Felicia and friends.

Thank you so much to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review. If you love a solid Cozy, with a fun group of characters and compelling mystery, you should absolutely give this one a shot!

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Review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder ClubThe Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Thursday Murder Club is a bloody brilliant start to a Cozy Mystery series. I’m in, hook, line and sinker.

This one features an interesting mystery, fantastic characters and the audibook narration was perfection.

I feel like one of the last remaining people on Earth to have read this delightful Mystery, but I’m so happy to be joining the party, late or not.

I really wanted to listen to the audio, because I had heard great things about the narration by Marian Keyes and Lesley Manville. They weren’t wrong. It was well worth the over year wait for my library hold to come through.

If you aren’t aware, this book follows a charming group of septuagenarians, mainly Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, who live in a retirement village known as Cooper’s Chase.

This fearsome-foursome meet up once a week to discuss and dig into cold cases. They also have a local DS they befriend and consult regarding their cases of interest.

In this book specifically, a property developer involved in the creation of Cooper’s Chase is found murdered. A case of utmost interest to our friends.

The mystery was cleverly-plotted. I enjoyed the many people of interest we came across along the way. There’s a lot of drama going on surrounding this little community.

The members of the Murder Club all got on so well. I loved their moments together and witty dialogue. The narration had me giggling many times, picturing everything perfectly.

There were some great suspects and lots of motives for potentially killing our victim. Not much got past the Murder Club though. They were on it.

In addition to the great mystery, there was also some thoughtful and emotional moments reflecting on aging and issues that may arise later in life.

In fact, there was one scene that had me in tears. It took me by surprise how much I was moved by many of these characters personal journeys.

I’m really looking forward to continuing on with this series. I’ve heard it just keeps getting better and better.

I’m already attached to these characters and am so excited to join in the investigations and solve some more cases!

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