Series: League of Literary Ladies #3
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Berkley on 7 October 2014
The League of Literary Ladies have picked the classic tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to read and life soon starts to imitate art with the South Bass Island equivalent, bootlegger Charlie “Sleepy” Harlow making his presence felt. Bea Cartwright gets drawn into the drama when a particularly unpleasant member of the Elkhart Ghost Getters (EGG) gets herself murdered and fellow literary lady, Kate, becomes a suspect.
The emphasis is very squarely on Bea now with the other literary ladies essentially relegated to the back bench. She’s an engaging protagonist which makes this a little easier but I missed the lively interactions she had with the ladies in the previous books. Bea’s relationship with love interest Levi instead takes the spotlight and they spend much of the novel dithering about their feelings for each other. It’s a shame that despite all the page time dedicated to this, there was so little resolution.
The book is really two plots in one with the mystery of Sleepy Harlow and the murder of Noreen. Bea’s link to the latter works neatly as Noreen and the other EGGs are staying at her inn. The Sleepy investigation though is a little tenuous as a cat peed on the manuscript that a friend asked her to read and rather than confess that it was ruined, Bea tries to recreate the book. The fragments of the book that she can read give her hints on where to go next but as most people can recognise their own writing, her attempt seemed a bit naive.
I enjoyed the Sleepy Harlow section far more than the contemporary one as Noreen was such an unpleasant person – the mystery ought to have been why she hadn’t been knocked off earlier. I pegged who the murderer would be before the murder actually took place just going by the characters’ personalities but had no idea of the motive until towards the end. Bea solves both mysteries by doing hours of research on the internet but it was impossible to follow in her footsteps as we don’t know what she looked up until the big reveal. There are a range of nicely placed red herrings along the way to try to keep the identity of the murderer hidden but for them to have been really effective, either more suspects had to have the opportunity to commit the crime or the ones that did needed to have a stronger motive.
Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as the other two in the series. All the elements of a good cozy mystery were there but they didn’t come together the way I hoped they would.