Review: Mayhem & Mass
MAYHEM & MASS - Olivia Matthews
Kensington Books
BUY
November 2017
Cozy Mystery
REVIEWER:  Wayne Jordan | RATING: A
REVIEW: I enjoy cozy mysteries and while they lack the grit and intensity of a regular mystery or romantic suspense, they offer the perfect way to spend a few hours of reading comfort and pleasure with a touch of intrigue.  Additionally, there are very few cozy mysteries written by authors of color which feature main characters who are black protagonists.  Fortunately, author, Olivia Matthews, aka Patricia Sargeant’s entry into the genre is a worthy one.

Our protagonist is a mature Sister Louise “Lou” LaSalle and is nothing like any sister I’ve read about.  (Ms. Matthews, thanks for educating me on the difference between a ‘nun’ and a ‘sister’). Lou is feisty, fearless and, damn, loves speeding, a practice which has resulted in her losing her license temporarily. When her friend, Dr. Maurice Jordan, is murdered just before he is to present at a conference hosted by her church, Sister Lou, decides to take the investigation into her hands with the help of her concerned nephew and an inquisitive reporter.

I totally enjoyed
MAYHEM AND MASS. It has a cool pace, moments of humor and a mystery which kept me wondering who the killer was. The supporting characters are diverse and add to the tensions in the story.  Sister Marianne (who I notice will feature significantly in the next book in the series), is as unlikable and annoying as such a character is supposed to be.  Lou’s nephew Chris is a well-rounded character who loves his aunt, but worries that she is alone and may be in danger. Shari, the reporter, is disillusion with her career and wants to do more, making her the perfect partner for Lou and, maybe Chris.  I am sure, that other readers will enjoy the hint of romance and hope that these two, Chris and Shari, get together. However, don’t expect things to get hot and passionate; this is a cozy mystery 12.

The setting for the series is the perfectly cozy community of Briar Coast, New York, with its colorful characters, the good and the bad, but most importantly, it’s the wonderful sense of family.
The fact, that the events take place around the St. Hermione of Ephesus Feast Day, makes the murder a bit more interesting.

MAYHEM AND MASS is a great debut for Ms. Matthews and I am already looking forward to PERIL AND PRAYER, the next book in the series.

1 December 2017 | romcol@caribsurf.com