Author: Marty Wingate
Publisher: Alibi, June 2, 2015
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Series: Bird of a Feather Mystery
Today its my turn to host Marty Wingate on her TLC Book Tour. Her latest book, The Rhyme of the Magpie, is the first book in a new series. Let’s start with a description of the story:
With her personal life in disarray, Julia Lanchester feels she has no option but to quit her job on her father’s hit BBC Two nature show, A Bird in the Hand. Accepting a tourist management position in Smeaton-under-Lyme, a quaint village in the English countryside, Julia throws herself into her new life, delighting sightseers (and a local member of the gentry) with tales of ancient Romans and pillaging Vikings.
But the past is front and center when her father, Rupert, tracks her down in a moment of desperation. Julia refuses to hear him out; his quick remarriage after her mother’s death was one of the reasons Julia flew the coop. But later she gets a distressed call from her new stepmum: Rupert has gone missing. Julia decides to investigate—she owes him that much, at least—and her father’s new assistant, the infuriatingly dapper Michael Sedgwick, offers to help. Little does the unlikely pair realize that awaiting them is a tightly woven nest of lies and murder.
I started out believing this book to be a cozy mystery. That’s how its classified. I find that to be a disservice to this book. Cozies have a reputation for being lightweight reading, not serious stuff. In my opinion, The Rhyme of the Magpie offers the reader a look at a young woman consciously making needed changes in her life while struggling with relationship issues, a new romance, a controversy between business and environmental issues, and yes, a mystery that needs to be solved. If that were all happening in my life, I wouldn’t call it lightweight or cozy.
I liked and felt for the main character, Julia. There were times I wanted to step in and help her out. That should tell you that character development was not a problem in this book. Last year I read the author’s first book, The Garden Plot (click the title for my review). My only complaint was that I just didn’t like the main character; I couldn’t see her as real. I’m glad I tried this new Marty Wingate novel, as characters were not a problem this time.
Another thing I liked about this book is that the author includes subjects she has a passion for. In the previous series it was gardens and this new series it’s birds. I was fascinated by the author’s use of the ancient superstition about magpies. The superstition says that, when you see magpies, count them. The number you see can predict or effect the outcome of events in your life. For example, if you are pregnant and you see three magpies, that means you’re having a girl. Here’s how the rhyme goes:
“One for sorrow, two for joy;
Three for a girl, four for a boy;
Five for silver, six for gold;
Seven for a secret, never to be told;
Eight for a wish,
nine for a kiss;
Ten for a bird that’s best to miss.”
My overall reaction to this book was very positive. Fortunately, there are more books planned featuring birds. In fact, the next book is coming in December. I suggest you read this one first.
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About the Author:
Marty Wingate is the author of The Garden Plot and The Red Book of Primrose House, and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America.
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