Published: February 23, 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Format: Print from Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Winchester has long had two goals in life—to be the best investigative journalist there is and become a super bridge player. Marrying her long time bow, Detective Ross Rierson has been a given and now that she’s on her way with both her journalism career and bridge playing the long awaited wedding has come to be. The wedding, planned by the in party planning company, Party Palooza, has made it the event of the season. Among the guests are fledging new bridge bunch players that Wendy is in the process of teaching bridge including Rosalie’s new psychic, Aurelia Spangler. When Aurelia offers not only her well known home but also cold readings for the group’s next lesson, they happily accept. The readings seem spot on, but when Party Palooza’s singing telegramist, Milton Bagdad, has his, all is not rosy. In fact, it’s outright scary. So scary Milton disappears without a word. Shortly after Aurelia is found dead in her home from an apparent cocaine overdose. When her death is deemed a suicide because of a note found by the body, Ross and Wendy’s dad, the chief of police, are ready to call it case closed. But something doesn’t sit right about it with Wendy and when several other bridge club members also raise concerns on the cause of death, an investigation is opened. What Wendy and Ross stumble on is a lot more than a woman being unable to cope with life any more. Is it really a suicide or is a killer hiding in plain sight?
The cover of R.J. Lee’s latest Bridge to Death Mystery, COLD READING MURDER was actually the reason I took up this series. Sometimes a book cover just catches your eye and you have to read it. All the better when the story is even better than the cover led you to believe. That is the case with COLD READING MURDER. What a great read!
Before I read COLD READING MURDER I did go back and read the first two books in the series, Grand Slam Murder and Playing the Devil and I encourage readers to do so if they haven’t already mainly because Lee does a great job of having characters, grow, develop and change in the course of each book. There is some romance, but not over the top distractive romance from the mystery at hand, between Ross and Wendy. It progresses and adds to each story.
Lee’s characters are full developed. I admit I wasn’t impressed with how Merleece, Wendy’s friend and house keeper was introduced—Lee portrayed her as sounding ignorant and uneducated when in fact she has common sense and adds wisdom to Wendy’s investigations. Wendy is a terrific character. She’s smart, caring, determined and what I appreciate, doesn’t do the “dumb sleuth” move of thinking she shouldn’t do something and then do it anyway. She knows when she could be walking into trouble or just feels like things aren’t as they should be, and lets Ross or her dad know what is going on.
The mystery in this one was multi-layered giving the reader a couple of solutions to ponder. Lee ties them together at a satisfying solution. I notice that the book sale sites say COLD READING MURDER is book 3 of 3. I hope that’s just because three books have been written and not that it is the end of the series. I definitely want to see where Wendy’s cases take her, Ross and Merleece.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.