Review: Peril & Prayer
PERIL & PRAYER - Olivia Matthews
Kensington Books
BUY

June 2018
Cozy Mystery
REVIEWER:  Wayne Jordan | RATING:  A
REVIEW: PERIL & PRAYER, the second cozy mystery by Olivia Matthews, is a worthy follow-up to last year’s debut release, MAYHEM & MASS, the first book in the Sister Lou Mystery series.  The mystery is well-written, with enough conflict and suspects to keep the true cozy fan wondering “who done it.”

On the surface, the mystery is simple.  Sister Lou is on the planning committee for the annual Advent retreat, which is being held at the Briar Coast Cabin Resort in New York. When the resort’s co-owner, Autumn Tassler, turns up dead, the list of suspects is long, and includes the combative Sister Marianna. Of course, Sister Lou is asked to “assist” with the investigation, if only to clear Sister Marianna’s name and appease the concerns of financial donors.

The list of suspects includes Autumn’s business partner, Rita Morris; Montgomery Crane, who wants to buy the resort; Isabella Fortney, whose husband, Roy, is Autumn’s ex-husband and another suspect; and Sister Marianna. Add a pair of incompetent detectives, and the setup is perfect for this cozy mystery.

Along with the mystery, which is the focus of the novel, there are some touches that help to make the story an enjoyable one. The introduction of the calico cat, which appears on the cover of the first book but is not mentioned, finally has a personality of its own and adds a nice touch to the story. Although it only appears a few times, the “relationship” between the cat and Sister Lou takes on a dynamic of its own. I hope this relationship is allowed to develop. I’m a sucker of homeless felines.

The relationship between Chris and Shari is also interesting. It is taken to another level of trust as Shari finally opens to Chris. I can’t wait to see how this relationship develops. But I digress. This series is about the mystery and the three of these, Sister Lou, Shari and Chris, are a formidable trio of crime fighters.

The ending and great reveal is like the first book and reminiscent of the great mysteries like Ellery Queen, Columbo and Murder She Wrote. Pull all the suspects in a room and voila, the killer. Olivia Matthews and Sister Lou, if this standard is maintained, should be around for quite a while. I totally enjoyed,
PERIL & PRAYER, this entry in the series. The next book, ALIBIS & ANGELS, can’t come soon enough.

1st June 2018 | romcol@caribsurf.com